The announcement came from SpaceX last night:
Team opting to hold launch for today. Looking to try again tomorrow; window also opens at 6:46pm ET. Rocket and spacecraft remain healthy.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 24, 2016
The big day is finally upon us! SpaceX’s launch of the SES-9 satellite has been rescheduled for tonight at 6:46 PM EST, after weather prevented them from launching last night as planned. Tonight, you can watch a live feed of the Falcon 9 launch on a live feed provided by SpaceX.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) February 22, 2016
The decision to reschedule may not seem major, but after the major delays to the company’s progress in 2015, any small issue can be key for them. The failure of their mission to the International Space Station last year that resulted in an explosion cost the company millions, set them back to just 7 launches in the year, and shook investor confidence in the company.
The successful launch of the Falcon 9 would be the second of the year, following the launch in January that put the Jason-3 satellite into the earth’s orbit. The mission ended explosively with a near miss on the landing. Though they managed a soft landing, one of the landing legs failed to deploy, resulting in the rocket toppling over and blowing up.
Though a successful landing would mean big business for SpaceX, they don’t plan on attempting the drone landing. Due to the delays last year, the SES-9 satellite was pushed to 2016. Subsequently, SES has chosen to put the satellite into a higher orbit to expedite the process. The excess fuel this requires means they won’t be able to attempt the landing. This decision likely comes as a disappointment to SpaceX enthusiasts who just recently celebrated the first ever successful rocket-ship landing just in December.
SpaceX is planning at least 11 more launches this year, so there’s no reason to be too upset about the decision not to land their latest mission. This spring they will be launching the Dragon II, their crewed spacecraft.
The launch is expected to go well, considering it’s not their first with this kind of rocket, and they’ve been running tests for quite some time. Fans of the innovative company are certain to be tuned into the launch this evening!