The past few days haven’t been kind to SpaceX’s attempted launch of six spacecraft for Orbcomm, a satellite-communications provider.
A June 20 attempt was scrubbed after engineers spotted an unexpected pressure drop in the Falcon 9 rocket. Bad weather scrubbed a launch chance on June 21. A June 22 attempt was pushed to June 24 after an issue arose during pre-flight checks.
Late yesterday, SpaceX officials decided to scrub today’s attempt as well. The team will take their time in dealing with the possible issue, one they didn’t elaborate on.
The SpaceX team is now targeting the first week of July for the launch.
“SpaceX will stand down Tuesday while our engineering teams evaluate further, which will also allow the Range [Cape Canaveral] to move forward with previously scheduled maintenance,” SpaceX and Orbcomm representatives said in the mission update. “We are currently targeting the first week of July and will work with the Range to confirm the next available launch opportunities.”
During the upcoming launch, SpaceX will try to bring the Falcon 9’s first stage back to Earth in a soft ocean splashdown. They managed to do this during a separate launch back in April, but heavy seas destroyed the rocket before recovery boats could retrieve it.
Here’s a video showing the Falcon 9 taking off and then landing.
SpaceX’s plan is to have a fully reusable launch system. Why is that important? Costs. Reusable rockets would drastically cut the costs of spaceflight according to SpaceX founder Elon Musk. The money saved could then go into other areas such as manned exploration.
We’ll keep you posted when SpaceX releases a firm launch date for the Orbcomm mission.