SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch Rescheduled For Friday, Will Make Two Rocket Launches In 48 Hours
The launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that was delayed from Monday, due to technical problems with a fairing valve, is now expected to be launched on Friday from the Kennedy Space Center. Weather conditions are expected to be favorable for the event, even with the presence of the Tropical Storm Cindy in the Gulf of Mexico.
"Postponing launch to replace fairing pneumatic valve," SpaceX CEO Elon Musk stated on Twitter. "It is dual redundant, but not worth taking a chance." Incidentally, Fairings are protective structures that are attached to a rocket’s top. They encapsulate the spacecraft and separate after it has been launched.
Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center is monitoring the Tropical Storm Cindy in the Gulf of Mexico. It has initiated storm watches and warnings for parts of the Texas coast and the whole of the Louisiana coast. However, Air Force weather officials do not think that the storm system is going to really affect the scheduled launch on Friday.
According to Florida Today, SpaceX has a 2-hour time frame to launch the nine-engine rocket. This is because the Tropical Storm Cindy will track farther northward and inland along the Gulf States. During this movement, an upper level high and associated dry air will build over the Florida peninsula that will create favorable conditions for about 48 hours.
Incidentally, the rocket’s previous mission saw it flying 10 Iridium NEXT satellites from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base in January. This will be the aerospace company’s second attempt to launch a "flight proven" first phase. The tentative launch on Friday will send Bulgaria's first geostationary communications satellite into orbit, from where the 8,000-pound (3,629 kg) spacecraft will send programming to southeastern Europe and Balkans.
If all goes according to plan, then the weekend can be historic for SpaceX as it also has another Falcon 9 rocket launch lined up for Sunday from Vandenberg. This will mark the shortest gap time between consecutive launches of Falcon 9.