Southland residents could be treated to another Elon Musk-sponsored light show on Wednesday as Hawthorne-based SpaceX launches a mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
The launch of a Falcon 9 rocket had been scheduled for 6:16 a.m. Sunday, but the company postponed the launch on Saturday.
“Team at Vandenberg is taking additional time to perform final checkouts of upgraded fairing,” SpaceX tweeted. “Payload and vehicle remain healthy. Due to mission requirements, now targeting February 21 launch of PAZ.”
The Falcon 9 rocket’s primary payload is a Spanish-government Paz satellite, but documents cited by multiple media outlets indicated that the rocket will also be deploying a pair of demonstration satellites that are part of Musk’s vision to create a space-based broadband network providing worldwide affordable internet access.
According to a communication between SpaceX and the Federal Communications Commission, the mission will deploy satellites known as Microsat- 2a and Microsat-2b. Those satellites were described by the company in an earlier license application as part of a test of a “broadband antenna communications platform.”
Documents cited in media reports identify the satellites as part of a SpaceX program known as “Starlink,” which envisions an array of nearly 12,000 satellites circling Earth within about six years, creating a worldwide internet system.
A December launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg created an evening visual spectacle over the Southland, with hundreds of people snapping photos of the light show and posting them online, with some even suggesting it was an alien invasion.
—City News Service