Tuesday, June 24, 2014

SpaceX Launch Moves to July

Falcon 9 rocket with Orbcomm satellites on the launch pad. Credit: SpaceX

Bedeviled by a spate of technical problems, Space Exploration Technologies on Monday said it will suspend launch attempts of its next Falcon 9 rocket until early July. The company said that engineers will take more time to evaluate an unidentified "potential issue" that postponed a planned launch attempt on Sunday, spotted during pre-flight checks. SpaceX previously said it would keep the Falcon 9 vertical at Launch Complex 40 in hopes of being ready to launch as soon as Tuesday. However, the Air Force had planned to close the Eastern Range this week for scheduled maintenance, work that has been rescheduled multiple times.

Pushing the launch out by more than a week allows that maintenance to proceed while SpaceX works on its technical issues.

The mission is attempting to launch six Orbcomm Generation 2 satellites that will upgrade a low Earth orbit constellation providing machine-to-machine communications.

SpaceX has flown its Falcon 9 rocket nine times so far, all successfully.

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