SpaceX halts USA satellite launch for national security mission

SpaceX Blue Origin Arianespace Falcon 9 New Shepard Soyuz ST A Scott Schilke Jeremy Beck

The launch date has been pushed back from September to October to December 15, then to Tuesday and then to Wednesday.

SpaceX and its Falcon 9 rocket are ready to launch a Global Positioning System satellite into space on behalf of the U.S. Air Force.

First up on the schedule is SpaceX, which plans to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. "Vehicle and payload remain healthy; next launch attempt is tomorrow at 9:07 EST, 14:07 UTC".

If all the rockets now scheduled launch as planned, there could be five launches within a 24 hour period.

"Standing down from today's launch attempt of GPS III SV01 to further evaluate out of family reading on first stage sensors; will confirm a new launch date once complete", they said in a Twitter update.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who traveled to Florida to watch the launch, announced afterward that President Donald Trump would direct the Pentagon to establish a Combatant Command to oversee America's activities in space.

Blue Origin's New Shepard (named for astronaut Alan Shepard) will carry nine different NASA-sponsored research and experimental projects that have come from five colleges and several agencies and engineering firm Controlled Dynamics. SpaceX first halted the launch on Tuesday due to the same technical warning with its sensor.

Elon Musk's rocket company SpaceX Corp is set to raise US$500 million at a US$30.5 billion valuation, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday (Dec 18), citing people familiar with the fundraising plan. However, a ground infrastructure issue resulted in that mission being delayed as well. Liftoff was scheduled for 11:37 a.m. EST from Arianespace's South American launch facility in French Guiana.

The goal is to set up a command to oversee and organize space operations, accelerate technical advances and find more effective ways to defend US assets in space, including the vast constellations of satellites that American forces rely on for navigation, communications and surveillance.

Finally, a Russian Soyuz spacecraft will return to Earth with three members of the International Space Station's crew tonight.



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