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SpaceX postpones launch due to wind; its next chance is Wednesday night

SpaceX launch
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasts off Feb. 19 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
(Red Huber / Orlando Sentinel)

SpaceX’s planned launch of a commercial communications satellite was delayed by high winds at Cape Canaveral in Florida on Monday night.

The launch had been scheduled for 10:34 p.m. Pacific Time from Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center, where a Falcon 9 rocket is set to lift the EchoStar 23 satellite into space.

SpaceX tweeted at 10:36 p.m. Monday that it was “standing down” on the launch attempt due to high winds and working toward the next available launch opportunity.

That window opens Wednesday night at 10:35 p.m. Pacific Time. SpaceX tweeted Tuesday morning that Wednesday night’s weather is “90% favorable.”

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In this launch, Hawthorne-based SpaceX will not attempt to land its first-stage rocket booster back on the ground or at sea. A combination of the satellite’s heavy weight and the high orbit it needs to reach won’t leave enough fuel in the booster’s tanks to bring it back. Instead, the first stage will burn up in the atmosphere after separating from the second stage.

SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Twitter two months ago that future flights of such payloads would launch either on the Falcon Heavy rocket, which is set to fly for the first time this summer, or on an upgraded version of the Falcon 9 rocket.

Musk has said the upgraded Falcon 9, which is expected to fly at the end of the year, would have better performance than the current version and could be reused more easily.

This will be the third launch of the year for SpaceX, whose full name is Space Exploration Technologies Corp. Its last mission was about three weeks ago, when it launched supplies for NASA to the International Space Station.

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samantha.masunaga@latimes.com

Twitter: @smasunaga

Times staff writer Nina Agrawal contributed to this report.

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UPDATES:

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9:15 a.m.: This article was updated with expected weather conditions for the next launch attempt and details about the first-stage rocket booster.

March 14, 7:55 a.m.: This article was updated with the postponement of the launch.

This article was originally published March 13 at 10 a.m.


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