Two critical NASA earth observation satellites have been postponed until May 22. These two satellites involve NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-on (GRACE-FO) mission as well as five Iridium Next Commercial communication satellites which were all set to lift off from the ground on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on last Saturday (May 19). They were scheduled to be launched from the Vanderberg Air Force Base which is located in California. But these take off have been delayed until May 22.
Iridium representatives have made a statement that the launch will be delayed by two days to give SpaceX some time to repair some of the minor issues associated with the two-stage Falcon 9. However on May 15, Iridium announced that specific range issues have come up in Vandenberg which has resulted for a delay for the third day.
As the name suggests, GRACE-FO follows the technique adopted in Grace mission of the NASA which showcased Earth’s gravitational field from the orbit in more prominent details from the period of 2002 to 2017. GRACE-FO has two identical spacecraft which is supposed to provide crucial measurements that will be utilized and combined with other data to look after the movement of water masses all around the planet and the mass change that will take place within the earth itself. NASA further mentioned in a statement that to provide a unique view of the Earth it is imperative to keep a close watch on the ice sheets and the glaciers, underground water storage as well as the sea levels on a regular basis.
The mission which is a joint venture between a German Research Center for Geosciences which is supposed to continue for five years. The future launch will provide a platform for a long-term relationship between the Iridium and the SpaceX. As per the latest report Falcon 9 rocket has launched 50 satellites for the Iridium Company and is slated to begin 75 of the craft over eight lift-offs when all falls into place.
The liftoff which is scheduled on Tuesday will be the second lift off for the first stage of this particular version of the Falcon 9. This booster helped the US government to lift off the secretive Zuma spacecraft in January. Till date, SpaceX has landed back to Earth 25 Falcon 9 first stages and reflown the boosters 11 times as of now.