NASA said Saturday that the launch of four astronauts on SpaceX’s first operational Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station has been delayed from Oct. 31 until “no sooner than early-to-mid November,” allowing time for SpaceX to resolve an issue with Falcon 9 rocket engines that halted a recent launch attempt with a GPS navigation satellite.
An unexpected reading from a ground sensor prompted SpaceX to scrub the planned launch of a Falcon 9 rocket Thursday with 60 more Starlink broadband satellites. It was the second last-minute abort of a rocket launch on Florida’s Space Coast in less than 10 hours, following a hold Wednesday night just before engines ignited on a United Launch Alliance Delta 4-Heavy rocket.
SpaceX launched 60 more Starlink satellites from the Kennedy Space Center at 7:29 a.m. EDT (1129 GMT) Tuesday aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. Meanwhile, the launch of another SpaceX rocket a few miles away with a GPS satellite has been postponed indefinitely after a countdown abort moments before liftoff Friday night.
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.
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.