Next Falcon 9 Launch Delayed Until Feb 21

Feb 21, 2018, 03:28

Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic is competing not only with SpaceX but also with Blue Origin, a private space venture launched by Amazon chief Jeff Bezos.

The Hawthorne-based space technology company's latest mission is for one of its Falcon 9 rockets to carry a almost 3-ton Earth-imaging satellite called Paz for Madrid-based operator Hisdesat was initially scheduled to launch Saturday, Feb. 17, at Vandenberg Air Force Base north of Santa Barbara. Payload and vehicle remain healthy. But, the launch has been delayed and is being postponed to February 21 to allow engineers do final checks of Falcon 9's upgraded nose cone. On February 21, the Falcon 9 will deploy SpaceX's own set of Starlink satellites, Microsat 1a and 1b that aims to provide low-priced internet globally.

The PAZ mission follows SpaceX's historic Falcon Heavy launch earlier this month.

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SpaceX is planning to use a giant net - one so vast that it takes up the majority of a high-speed watercraft named Mr. Steven - to catch reusable gear that falls back to Earth after missions to outer space.

Dedicated astronomy enthusiast Ben Pearson created WhereIsRoadster.com, which tracks Starman's position in real-time based on the car's calculated trajectory as it swings around the sun for millions of years to come. Also, the first-stage booster which was used to launch Taiwan's Formosat-5 satellite in August 2017 is ready.

On Wednesday, the Falcon 9's payload fairing will be the PAZ satellite.

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The plan is to launch the first of two prototypes for its "vast satellite-internet constellation". The primary mission for Wednesday's launch is the Paz Earth satellite, which was built by Airbus and will be operated by Spanish government satellite services operator Hisdesat.

SpaceX has failed to explicitly mention about these satellites, though, and they only came up to public knowledge via documents the company filed with the Federal Communications Commission.

SpaceX had initially planned for the launch to take place last Saturday, before delaying it due to the need for more inspections. Thoughts about the forthcoming launch? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!

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