Hawthorne-based SpaceX Thursday delayed a planned launch of a rocket carrying 60 internet satellites into orbit, citing a “recovery issue.”
The company had planned to launch the rocket with the Starlink satellites at 11:19 a.m. California time from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The company announced at about 11 a.m. that the launch had been scrubbed.
“Standing down from today’s Starlink launch due to recovery issue; vehicle and payload remain healthy,” the company tweeted.
Although the issue wasn’t specified, it likely involved the company’s plans to recover the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket following the launch. The company planned to land the rocket back on a barge — named “Just Read the Instructions — floating in the Atlantic Ocean, as part of its cost-cutting process of recovering the equipment for use in future missions.
The rocket being used for the satellite has flown two previous missions for SpaceX, including its historic launch earlier this year of two astronauts to the International Space Station.
Following the launch, SpaceX also hopes to recover the two-piece fairing, or protective nosecone, using a separate ship. One of the fairing halves was also used in a previous mission.
The next launch opportunity for the rocket will be 10:57 a.m. California time Friday, although the company indicated it is keeping a close eye on the weather in the area, which has been affected by Hurricane Sally.
The launch had been most recently planned on Sunday, but was delayed due to weather.
The mission is the 13th to carry Starlink satellites into orbit. Nearly 700 such satellites are already circling the planet, with initial plans calling for as many as 12,000, and the ultimate array topping 40,000.
The Starlink system is designed to provide low-cost internet access in traditionally underserved areas around the world. The service is already being tested by some SpaceX employees, with public beta testing anticipated to begin later this year.
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