SpaceX delays satellite launch again, at last second


MIAMI: In the very end second before launch on Sunday, SpaceX scrubbed the initiate of its Falcon 9 rocket to send a communications satellite into orbit, marking the third delay since last week.

“We have not heard the cause of the abort yet,” said SpaceX spokesman John Insprucker, explaining that an unknown problem had forced the sudden postponement of the launch.

Earlier in the evening, a ship in the waters off Cape Canaveral ventured too close to the launch site, forcing a delay.But the ship moved away in time for a launch attempt, and the countdown went almost to ignition before it was cut off suddenly.

“We were counting down, we got to just about T-0 when we had an abort,” at 7:21 pm (0021 GMT) said Insprucker.Another launch date has not been set, and the vehicle is safe, he added.The launch aims to propel a communications satellite, known as SES-9 that was built by Boeing for the Luxembourg-based company SES.

The satellite must reach a geostationary orbit, more than 22,000 miles (35,000 kilometers) above Earth, where it will deliver broadband and television channels to southeast Asia.”We will be dropping SES-9 off 100 times as high as the International Space Station,” said Lauren Lyons, mission integrator for SpaceX.

After the launch, SpaceX had planned to try to land the first stage of its rocket on a platform floating in the Atlantic.

The California-based company headed by Internet entrepreneur Elon Musk has managed to land upright on solid ground once — in December 2015 — but several attempts at ocean touchdowns have failed.

SpaceX has cautioned it does not expect a successful landing this time either after the launch finally takes place, but is trying to perfect its technique of recycling rocket parts in order to make spaceflight cheaper and more sustainable.


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