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SpaceX To Postpone Launch To Early 2017

First Posted: Dec 09, 2016 03:00 AM EST
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After reassuring customers that it will launch in 2016, Elon Musk's SpaceX moves its new mission in January 2017, since one of its Falcon 9 rockets exploded in September.

At first, the launch was originally planned on Dec. 16. However, the company revised its schedule by pushing the expected date to early 2017.

"We are finalizing the investigation into our September 1 anomaly and are working to complete the final steps necessary to safely and reliably return to flight, now in early January with the launch of Iridium-1," SpaceX said in a statement. "This allows for additional time to close-out vehicle preparations and complete extended testing to help ensure the highest possible level of mission assurance prior to launch," it added.

The mission next year aims to deliver 10 communications satellites by Iridium communications to orbit. The launch will take place from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

September Explosion

In September, Falcon X exploded, destroying one of the $200 million satellites, Amos-6, owned by Israel-based satellite company, Space Communication. The company said it is still investigating the cause of the explosion.

Space Communication said it would either seek about $50 million from SpaceX as compensation for the accident or a free ride on another launch.

Experts working with the company have traced the explosion to a fuel tank in the second stage of the rocket. However, the main cause of the explosion has not been revealed yet.

"I still haven't heard anything official from the FAA regarding whether they approved the return to flight or not," Bill Ostrove told Mashable.

SpaceX has faced many other incidents in the past. In June 2015, another Falcon 9 broke apart less than 3 minutes after launching from Cape Canaveral. This destroyed an unmanned cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

After six months since the mishap, the company successfully launched 11 satellites for the Orbcomm Company. This was the time that the Falcon 9's first stage returned for a landing at Cape Canaveral. It was the first time that a rocket attained a soft landing during an orbital launch.

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