SpaceX has delayed the launch of 60 Starlink satellites for 24 hours in order to take a second look at the rocket’s valve component. The internet-beaming satellites could have been launched aboard the Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday, February 16, morning but this has been rescheduled for Monday, February 17.
The launch is to take place at the Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Following the decision to call off the initial launch, SpaceX announced on Twitter that “Standing down from tomorrow’s Starlink launch; the team is taking a closer look at a second stage valve component. Now targeting Monday, February 17.”
SpaceX initially wanted to launch the Starlink satellites on Saturday, February 15 after completing all prelaunch tests the previous Friday, but they later chose to do it on Sunday, February 16 when weather conditions indicated that Sunday would be best for activities at the recovery zone. However, the crucial need to get things right properly with the valve on the second stage of the rocket necessitated another postponement to Monday, February 17.
The launch will take place aboard the two-stage Falcon 9 rocket which had done three missions before this time. It carried out two resupply missions in May and July and another satellite launch in December 2019.
After the launch, the rocket’s first stage will come down on SpaceX’s landing platform in the Atlantic Ocean to mark the space company’s 50th booster recovery. In order to get back its payload fairings, SpaceX has dispatched its cone-catching ships to the zone for the booster recovery.
The fairings cost $3 million each, and recovering them will enable SpaceX to refurbish them and then fly them again, ultimately reducing the costs of subsequent launches.
Viewers at home can watch the satellite launch from Space.com or SpaceX’s website when it happens on Monday.