SpaceX Postpones Falcon 9 Launch/Landing to Monday

SpaceX Postpones Falcon 9 Launch/Landing to Monday

SpaceX has decided to postpone one day, until Monday, its Falcon 9 return-to-flight launch of 11 ORBCOMM OG2 communications satellites and its historic attempt to land the rocket’s first stage back at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL.  The new launch time is 8:33 pm ET.

Musk tweeted late this afternoon that the decision to wait until Monday was to improve the chances of a successful landing, but ORBCOMM issued a press release attributing the delay to a desire to take more time to chill the supercooled liquid oxygen.

By contrast, ORBCOMM, the customer for the launch said: “SpaceX has determined that an additional day prior to launch will allow
for more analysis and time to further chill the liquid oxygen in
preparation for launch. Please note that we will now be targeting launch for tomorrow, Monday, December 21 at 8:34 pm ET.”  (The company later corrected the launch time to 8:33 pm ET.)

The primary purpose of the launch, of course, it to meet the customer’s requirements of placing 11 satellites into low Earth orbit.  Landing is a secondary objective for SpaceX’s own goal of demonstrating reusability, which makes the decision somewhat surprising.

SpaceX will webcast the launch, but has not specifically stated that it will do so for the landing.

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