Two SpaceX rockets are standing on launch pads several miles apart on Florida’s Space Coast awaiting launch opportunities Thursday and Friday, once an oft-delayed Delta 4-Heavy rocket from rival United Launch Alliance is able to blast off from Cape Canaveral with a top secret U.S. government spy satellite.
United Launch Alliance scrubbed the launch of a Delta 4-Heavy rocket Wednesday night less than 10 seconds before liftoff from Cape Canaveral, the second such abort suffered by this mission.. The launch of a classified National Reconnaissance Office spy satellite is expected to be delayed at least several more days as engineers assess the cause of Wednesday’s last-minute abort.
Continuing a dizzying series of rescheduled launches from Florida’s Space Coast, poor weather at the Kennedy Space Center forced SpaceX to keep a Falcon 9 rocket and 60 Starlink broadband satellites on the ground Monday. The Starlink launch is expected to be delayed until Thursday, after a pair of national security missions are set to blast off from Cape Canaveral Tuesday.
Without any public warning, a Chinese Long March 4B rocket lifted off Sunday with two “environmental monitoring satellites” that the country’s state media said will replace a pair of spacecraft launched in 2008 that collected data to assist in a series of disaster relief efforts over the last decade.