Next Generation GPS Satellite Launch Postponed by 1 Day

James Marshall
December 19, 2018

First up on the schedule is SpaceX, which plans to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Three missions scheduled for Tuesday were scrubbed.

Four different companies have rocket launches slated for 18 December: Elon Musk's SpaceX, Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin, France's Arianespace and United Launch Alliance, the joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin. SpaceX now has an additional four GPS III missions on contract, all of which will be launched on Falcon 9. Weather forced a cancelation of what would be the company's tenth New Shephard mission, which "is dedicated to bringing nine NASA-sponsored research and technology payloads into space through NASA's Flight Opportunities program". The long-awaited flight already had slipped to almost the end of the available launch window because of high upper level winds when the issue cropped up.

SpaceX might not be happy they had to cancel their two planned launches on Tuesday, but that's good news for everyone else.

The goal is to set up a command to oversee and organize space operations, accelerate technical advances and find more effective ways to defend USA assets in space, including the vast constellations of satellites that American forces rely on for navigation, communications and surveillance.

You can watch both of the launches live online - SpaceX has a 26-minute launch window to send its Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, with the live webcast set to begin around 15 minutes before liftoff.

The launch is scheduled for 9:34 a.m. The Kennedy Space Center's Visitor Complex was selling tickets to the launch and was advising visitors to arrive early to get in place before the launch. It will carry a U.S. National Reconnaissance Office satellite called the NROL- 71, which the Air Force says will help to give "innovative overhead intelligence systems for national security".

Russian recovery forces in Kazakhstan, meanwhile, pressed ahead with preparations for the planned re-entry and landing of the Soyuz MS-09/55S spacecraft carrying vehicle commander Sergey Prokopyev, flight engineer Alexander Gerst and NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor back to Earth. At present, this is scheduled for 5:57 p.m. PST.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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