SpaceX, ULA reschedule next launches
Both SpaceX and United Launch Alliance (ULA) have rescheduled their next launches from the East and West Coasts, respectively. SpaceX, which will be sending the mystery “Zuma” payload into space atop a Falcon 9 rocket, opted to postpone by at least a day to examine data from a recent payload fairing test. ULA, on the other hand, is hoping to fly its Delta II after two scrubbed attempts.
Zuma mission postponed
SpaceX was originally targeting the beginning of a two-hour launch window opening at 8 p.m. EST Nov. 15 (01:00 GMT Nov. 16), 2017. However, the company said it postponed that by 24 hours in order to conduct “additional mission assurance work”.
Then, late in the afternoon Nov. 16, John Taylor, SpaceX’s communications director, said in an e-mailed statement that the company was standing down to take a closer look at data from a fairing test for another customer.
“Though we have preserved the range opportunity for tomorrow [Nov. 17], we will take the time we need to complete the data review and will then confirm a new launch date,” Taylor said.
The mission is set to launch from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Weather conditions for an 8 p.m. liftoff on Nov. 17 are expected to be nearly perfect. The 45th Weather Squadron, which is based at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, is calling for a less than 10 percent chance of conditions violating launch rules. The primary concern will be cumulus clouds.
JPSS-1 gets new launch date
On the other end of the continent, ULA is working to get the penultimate flight of the Delta II rocket off the ground. Perched atop the rocket is the JPSS-1 weather satellite for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The company confirmed via social media that it has reserved the Western Range for 1:47 a.m. PST (4:47 a.m. EST / 09:47 GMT) Nov. 18, 2017. Liftoff will take place from Launch Complex 2W at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
This will be the third attempt to launch the Delta II. The first attempt on Nov. 14 saw the countdown halted due to boats straying into the restricted space as well as several technical issues cropping up. The second attempt occurred 24 hours later, but high upper-level winds prompted a delay.
Derek Richardson has a degree in mass media, with an emphasis in contemporary journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also has a website about human spaceflight called Orbital Velocity. You can find him on twitter @TheSpaceWriter.