SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch scheduled for this evening has been postponed. The reason stated for halting the launch is “due to loss of the Air Force’s Eastern Range radar, which is required for launch,” said a company spokesperson.
The Falcon 9 was set to deliver NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite. When launched, this spacecraft will stay between the Earth and the Sun and it’s mission is to provide early warning of potential dangerous solar winds, which can affect infrastructure like communications systems. It will also be used for scientific investigations of the Sun.
After the launch of the mission, SpaceX will once again attempt to successfully land the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. In the company’s first attempt in January, the rocket made it back to the drone barge but then suffered what CEO Elon Musk jokingly referred to as a “rapid unscheduled disassembly.”
This second attempt, however, poses some more difficulties.
“Rocket reentry will be much tougher this time around due to deep space mission,” Musk tweeted today. “Almost 2X force and 4X heat. Plenty of hydraulic fluid tho.”
The next opportunity for the SpaceX launch is Monday, February 9 at 6:07pm ET.
Update (2/9/2015): Weather conditions aren’t favorable for a Monday launch and so NASA, NOAA, the U.S. Air Force and SpaceX have made the decision to postpone the launch until Tuesday, February 10 at 6:05pm ET with a backup date of Wednesday, February 11.
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