Published: Thu, December 20, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

SpaceX halts US satellite launch for national security mission

SpaceX halts US satellite launch for national security mission

SpaceX's onboard launch computer triggered a hold on today's launch that pushed the company past its planned launch window.

Meanwhile, Blue Origin is now targeting a Friday launch for its resuable New Shepard rocket and space capsule.

After a delay from Tuesday, SpaceX was scheduled to launch the first ever Global Positioning System III space vehicle (SV), or GPS III SV, for the United States Air Force.

SpaceX's launch of the satellite will be the first of many under a competitive contract with the US Air Force. "Vehicle and payload remain healthy; next launch attempt is tomorrow at 9:07 EST, 14:07 UTC". The launch will be streamed via the French space agency's YouTube Channel.

In 2016, SpaceX won an $83 million Air Force contract to launch the GPS III satellite, which will have a lifespan of 15 years. Weather forced a cancelation of what would be the company's tenth New Shephard mission, which "is dedicated to bringing nine NASA-sponsored research and technology payloads into space through NASA's Flight Opportunities program".

However, all of these scrubs set up the possibility of an even greater day of launches on Wednesday (weather permitting, of course!). However, a ground infrastructure issue resulted in that mission being delayed as well. "Slating next launch window NET Friday 12/21 pending further review".

Vice President Mike Pence will attend the SpaceX launch in Florida.

Elon Musk's SpaceX has cancelled the long-delayed launch of a navigation satellite for the USA military, failing to complete its first designated national security mission for the United States because of technical issue with its rocket. The satellite is nicknamed "Vespucci" after America's namesake explorer Amerigo Vespucci. This day has been marked as the bookend as because this is the first time in the world history that so many rockets were launched at once on to space.

In addition, Arianespace, the European consortium that markets French-built Ariane and Russian-built Soyuz boosters, had to call off a Soyuz launch from French Guiana because of high winds. At present, this is scheduled for 5:57 p.m. PST.

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