SpaceX delays Falcon 9 rocket launch by the high altitude winds

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Paz radar-imaging satellite and two prototype high-speed internet satellites on one Space Launch Complex 4E at the Vandenberg Air Force Station ahead of an attempt to start on Feb. 21, 2018. SpaceX has delayed the launch not earlier than February. 22.


SpaceX called off an attempt to launch the Falcon 9 rocket in California today (Feb. 21) as a result of the strong high-altitude winds, according to the company’s CEO Elon Musk.

The Falcon 9 rocket was scheduled to lift at 9:17 a.m. EST (1417 GMT) from Space Launch Complex 4E in California Vandenberg Air Force Base. But about 10 minutes before the launch, SpaceX announced stood down from the launch try.

“High altitude wind shear data indicate a probable 2% load is exceeded. Small, but it is better to be paranoid,” Musk wrote on Twitter. “The postponement of the launch until tomorrow, assuming the wind is better then.”

The next opportunity for the launch of the Falcon 9 is the Thursday (Nov. 22) at 9:17 a.m. EST. The shipment has been delayed three times since the first launch goal of the Feb. 17, two times by the need of additional inspections of the launch of the vehicle.

More Of

  • The shipment has been delayed three times

  • Starlink broadband internet satellites

  • SpaceX’s website

SpaceX’s primary mission for the launch is to deliver the Paz radar-imaging satellite into orbit for the Spain-based company Hisdesat. It will provide images for both commercial and government uses, according to a mission description.

The Falcon 9 is also wearing two small prototypes for SpaceX’s planned Starlink broadband satellites on this mission. The two satellites, the so-called Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b, are the vanguard of a large constellation of 4,000 satellites that SpaceX is developed for low-cost internet service to people around the world.

“Today’s launch of Falcon carries 2 SpaceX test satellites for global broadband,” Musk wrote on Twitter. “If successful, Starlink constellation will serve the least served.”

SpaceX representatives have said that they hope the Starlink constellation is carried out in at least a limited capacity in 2020.

The Falcon 9 launch Paz and the Starlink prototype has flown in space. The rocket’s first stage booster launched the Taiwanese Earth-observing satellite Formosat-5 in a job in August 2017 and return to Earth, landing on one of SpaceX’s drone ship platforms. SpaceX will not attempt to restore this Falcon 9 first stage after the Paz satellite launch, according to a mission description.

The Falcon 9 launch from Vandenberg is not the only flight SpaceX is preparing for this week. The company is also scheduled to launch the Hispasat 30W-6 communication satellite in an orbit of one of the Florida-pads on Sunday (Feb. 25).

Earlier today, SpaceX announced that it successfully completed a static fire engine test of the Falcon 9 rocket that will launch Hispasat 30W-6. The mission is scheduled to lift off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 12:35 am EST (0535 GMT), according to Spaceflight Now.

As SpaceX proceeds with a Paz satellite launch on Thursday, you can watch the Falcon 9 launch here, or directly from SpaceX’s website. The webcast will begin about 15 minutes before the scheduled launch.

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