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.
Delays have set up the possibility of up to three rocket launches this weekend from different pads along Florida’s Space Coast, including two SpaceX missions on Sunday that could set a company record for the shortest span between two Falcon 9 rocket launches. But in the world of ever-changing launch schedules, numerous factors such as weather and technical issues could thwart launch plans this weekend.