SpaceX Delays Satellite Launch, Rocket Landing Over High Winds

March 22, 2016 – 05:56 am
The launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket (shown here) and its DSCOVR space weather satellite payload was delayed on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015 due to unacceptably high upper lever winds over its Cape Canaveral Air Force Station launch site in Florida. It was the third delay for the launch this week.
Credit: SpaceX

There will be no rare spaceflight triple play for SpaceX today (Feb. 10).

The launch has been pushed to Wednesday (Feb. 11) at 6:03 p.m. EST (2303 GMT), when the weather should be better: Forecasts call for a 90 percent chance of good conditions on the ground Wednesday, with weaker upper-level winds. You can watch the DSCOVR launch live here on courtesy of NASA TV, beginning at 5 p.m. EST (2200 GMT). [The DSCOVR Mission in Pictures]

As part of the flight, SpaceX will also try to bring the Falcon 9's first stage back for a soft landing on an "autonomous spaceport drone ship" in the Atlantic Ocean, in a daring test of reusable rocket technology. Developing reusable rockets is a key priority for SpaceX, which seeks to slash the cost of spaceflight.

Meanwhile, SpaceX's robotic Dragon capsule left the International Space Station today, wrapping up a monthlong stay at the orbiting lab. The spacecraft, which is loaded up with 3, 700 lbs. (1, 678 kilograms) of scientific samples and other cargo, is slated to splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California around 7:45 p.m. EST (0045 GMT Feb. 11).

"Launch postponed to tomorrow due to high winds at the Cape, but Dragon still inbound from orbit in 90 mins, " SpaceX's billionaire founder and CEO Elon Musk said via Twitter shortly after the DSCOVR launch scrub.

The $340 million DSCOVR mission (short for Deep Space Climate Observatory) is a joint effort involving the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration, NASA and the United States Air Force. The spacecraft will set up shop at the Earth-sun Lagrange Point 1, a gravitationally stable spot about 930, 000 miles (1.5 million kilometers) from Earth, then keep an eye out for powerful solar storms that could potentially disrupt power grids and satellite operations.


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