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SpaceX repairs and bad weather force multiple satellite launch delays

Published Aug 5th, 2019 7:00PM EDT
spacex satellite launch
Image: Terry Renna/AP/REX/Shutterstock

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Sending stuff into space isn’t easy. SpaceX has made the process of making satellite deliveries into Earth orbit look incredibly easy, but there are still a million things that can derail an otherwise routine mission, and the delayed launch of the AMOS-17 communications satellite by Spacecom is a great reminder of that.

The mission was originally scheduled to be launched on July 24th, but poor weather forced a delay. The backup launch window on the following day was also marked by bad weather and yet another delay. The skies eventually cleared, but that’s when SpaceX’s Falcon 9 began acting up.

As SpaceFlight Insider reports, the next possible launch window was this past Saturday, August 3rd, but that, too, was scrubbed due to issues that arose during a static fire test of the Falcon 9’s engines. The launch was pushed back, with the earliest possible launch coming on Monday, August 5th.

SpaceX tweeted out a brief update, noting that it was adding another static fire test for the rocket “after replacing a suspect valve.” That additional test was completed on Saturday, and everything would seem to be in working order.

Unfortunately, it seems the mission won’t make its August 5th launch window and SpaceX is now targeting a launch on Tuesday, August 6th instead. No time has been set, and the company noted that the launch would be carried out “pending range availability.”

The AMOS-17 will be launched as a replacement for the AMOS-5 satellite which launched way back in 2011. The spacecraft will enter a geosynchronous orbit, and due to the specific demands of sending the satellite into the correct orbit, SpaceX will not attempt a soft landing of the first stage of the Falcon 9.