SpaceX’s Falcon 9 will not be making the trip to space on Saturday, May 19 as scheduled. The firm has postponed the launch to Tuesday, May 22. According to the SpaceX, the delay is due to some minor processing issues.
Falcon 9 was scheduled to launch 5 Iridium satellites and NASA’s GRACE-FO satellite on May 19. The liftoff was planned to happen at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
GRACE-FO mission is the mission that replaces the GRACE mission. The GRACE mission ran from 2002 to 2017. The earth science mission focused on researching on water on earth. The task looked at the underground water, melting ice sheets, and sea level. GRACE lasted more than the initially planned duration.
Germany and the United States started working on a new project since 2012. The new mission will succeed the GRACE mission. The new project is what we now know as the GRACE-FO mission. The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) will continue to track the movement of water on earth. It will also monitor the changes in the underground water.
The mission features two satellites which will work will on separate paths. The two will move 137 miles apart. Initially, the team scheduled the launch of the GRACE-FO between December 2017 and February 2018. However, the new date is now May 22.
Five Iridium satellites will join the trip space. Iridium is replacing its constellation in space with 75 Iridium NEXT satellites. Iridium has a contract with SpaceX for the task of replacing all the satellites. SpaceX will have to embark on eight trips to launch all 75 satellites. Most of the trips saw a SpaceX launch vehicle carrying ten satellites.
This mission will carry only five because of the GRACE-FO satellites. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 has already sent 50 of the Iridium NEXT satellites into Space on five separate trips. After this trip, the space firm will embark on two more trips to complete the project.
Officials of the Iridium company released a statement on Twitter on Monday, May 14 stating that they would allow SpaceX some two days’ delay to fix the minor processing issue that is affecting the upper stage of the launch vehicle.
The popularity of SpaceX soared earlier this month when the company successfully launched an upgraded version of the Falcon 9 vehicle. The new version called the Falcon 9 Block 5 has the capability of flying up to ten times with minor refurbishment and up to 100 times with some major repairs.