Titusville – SpaceX has delayed the Falcon 9 launching because of high winds and rain showers at NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launching was planned for this Monday night.
A SpaceX team member said that they were monitoring the winds at ground level and the high level during the countdown, at 1:34 a.m. This would be the third launch for the Falcon 9 and the second from the NASA launch pad.
The launch window for this rocket started at 1:34 a.m. and ended near 4:00 a.m., before 1:00 a.m. everything was ready for the launch. The rocket propellers were drained, and the satellite was in place, but the countdown couldn’t reach the end.
The team said that the launch could take place this week, maybe on Thursday, according to Air Force weather prognostics. SpaceX said that they are working on the next available launch opportunity.
If the weather is good, the satellite will be launched this Thursday. The SpaceX team said that there is a 90 percent chance of acceptable weather during the launch window on Thursday.
“Winds will lighten after sunset Wednesday and be within liftoff constraints by the launch window Thursday morning. The main weather concern will be liftoff winds.” according to the Air Force forecasters.
Originally, the EchoStar launch was planned to happen last year, but it was postponed after an explosion at the launch pad in October 2016. The launch was rescheduled for January and February 2017, but it was delayed until this Tuesday.
The Falcon 9 is the rocket that would carry the EchoStar XXIII, a commercial communications satellite for EchoStar Corporation. The rocket is designed to continue operating although two of the engines shut down, according to the NASA website.
EchoStar XXIII is the heaviest geosynchronous payload, and it requires the rocket to fly in a full configuration, according to Nasa Space Flight. The satellite was originally made by Space Systems Loral (SSL) for a partnership between the company and China, looking for providing mobile video broadcasting during the Olympic Games in 2008.
When it’s ready for launch, EchoStar XXIII weighs 12,345 pounds, so it requires all the lift capacity of Falcon 9 booster, spacecraft officials told Spaceflight Now.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 first stage will be unable to attempt a landing after takeoff with EchoStar XXIII because it will be operating at full capacity to lift the large satellite. They said that the spacecraft is not equipped with the accessories needed for a landing.
SpaceX is planning to take two citizens around the Moon aboard the Dragon 2 spacecraft. This would be the first tourist space launch going further the International Space Station.
Source: SpaceFlight Now