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SpaceX Delays Scheduled Falcon 9 Launch

Feb 01, 2017 08:16 AM EST
SpaceX Rocket To Become The First Non-Governmental Vehicle To Reach Int'l Space Station
SpaceX delays projected launch of its Falcon 9 rocket until mid-February to give way to NASA missions to the International Space Station (ISS).
(Photo : Roberto Gonzalez/Getty Images)

The commercial spaceflight company owned by businessman Elon Musk is definitely back after a Falcon 9 explosion fiasco last year. The company also announced that it would launch the last reusable rocket in a lift-off that will not be followed by a landing. However, in a recent update, SpaceX delayed the scheduled Falcon 9 launch to mid-February.

The changes to SpaceX launch is not due to Falcon 9 glitches but to the availability of the LC-39A pad responsible for lift-offs. SpaceX planned a launch as early as this week, but due to the current circumstances, the launch won't take place until, possibly, mid-February.

Reports say that NASA and SpaceX have discussed the matter last week and both decided to delay the EchoStar 23 launch after CRS-10 to allow last-minute modifications to the new pad and avoid delay in Dragon's mission to the ISS. This means Falcon 9 is giving way to what seems to be a more important ISS cargo run, according to a report.

Both NASA and SpaceX will be using a repurposed launch pad inside the Kennedy Space Center, as per CBS News. The decision to delay SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch will also give way to Dragon and Cygnus trips to provide the ISS crew more payloads needed to perform more experiments aboard the international space station. Both parties agreed that the ISS missions precede urgency of the launch compared to the EchoStar 23 telecommunications satellite payload that resulted to the reshuffling of launch schedules.

"Following the launch of CRS-10, first commercial mission from 39A is currently slated to be EchoStar XXIII. This schedule change allows time for additional testing of ground systems ahead of the CRS-10 mission. The launch vehicles, Dragon, and the EchoStar satellite are all healthy and prepared for launch," according to an official SpaceX document.

Despite the delay, the rockets are already placed at the Kennedy Space Center. The new Falcon 9 launch location could be attributed to the damaged SpaceX launch pad inside the Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida.

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