Yesterday afternoon, the Falcon 9 rocket of Elon Musk, the Chief Executive Officer of Space X, was supposedly scheduled to attempt to launch again, after the cancellation of two previously-scheduled launches on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. They were reportedly cancelled because of last-minute technical issues.
The rocket was set to carry a satellite that is worth approximately $500 million (£393.7 million) built by Lockheed Martin up to space. It was scheduled to take off from Florida at around 2 pm GMT last Thursday.
However, a US meteorologist already warned that it appears that the weather is already posing a challenge to the launch, with only a 20 percent probability of favourable conditions due to severe thunderstorms and wind gusts in the area..
In a tweet that was posted by SpaceX before the scheduled time of the launch, it disclosed: “Team is working toward the launch of GPS III SV01 tomorrow, December 20. Weather remains a challenge; currently forecasted at 20% favorable during the 26-minute launch window which opens at 9:03 a.m. EST, 14:03 UTC.”
The launch was supposed to mark the first so-called National Security Space mission of Space X, as defined by the military of the United States. It won an $83 million contract from the US air force in 2016 to launch the said satellite, which will have a lifespan of approximately 15 years.
In a tweet that was posted by Space X, they stated: ‘Standing down today due to weather. Vehicle and payload remain in good health.”
If it did go ahead with the launch, the day would have been a significant success for Musk. Space X has been trying to crack into the space defence market, that is dominated by Boeing and United Launch Alliance, the joint venture of Lockheed Martin, for several years.
The GPS satellite is the first of the 32 satellites that are in production by Lockheed. Once it is deemed to be fully operational, a spokesperson of the Air Force informed Reuters that the fleet of satellites will be three times more accurate as compared to the existing technology.
The next satellite is set for launch mid next year.