SpaceX postpones launch of communications satellite

Rescheduling could mean two back-to-back launches for the company.
By Laurel Kornfeld | Oct 06, 2017
Possible inclement weather and a decision to do minor repair work on its Falcon 9 rocket have led SpaceX to postpone its scheduled launch of a communications satellite from Saturday night, October 7 to sometime next week.

In a tweet, the company announced the delay in launching the SES 11/EchoStar 105 communication and television broadcast satellite.

According to an SES official, the new launch date will at the earliest be Wednesday, October 11.

SpaceX confirmed that the Falcon 9 will undergo "minor engine rework" over the next few days.

Bad weather could come from Tropical Storm Nate, which is headed toward the United States.

Weighing almost 11,500 pounds (5,200 kg), the satellite, which was constructed by the European company Airbus Defense and Space, carries a joint payload for SES and EchoStar, which signed an agreement in 2014 to collaborate on the project.

At that time, the launch date for the joint project was scheduled for late 2016.

SES will use the new satellite to operate C-band transponders that will be used for the distribution of data and video services.

After the Falcon 9 carries the satellite into an elliptical transfer orbit, a thruster on the spacecraft will guide it to a circular geostationary orbit above Earth's equator.

The satellite will be positioned over 105 degrees west longitude, where its antennas will provide coverage for North, South, and Central America.

SpaceX has another Falcon 9 launch planned for Monday, October 9, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, which will carry 10 additional Iridium NEXT satellites into orbit.

Those satellites have been fueled and mounted in preparation for Monday's launch.

While the Iridium NEXT launch will used a new Falcon 9, theSES 11/EchoStar 105 will launch with a reused booster that first launched in February 2017.

The Falcon 9 carrying SES 11/EchoStar 105 will launch from Launchpad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

A static fire test of the rocket that will carry the satellite , which involves fueling it, putting it into a vertical position on the launchpad, and simulating a countdown, was successfully completed on Monday, October 2.

For SpaceX, these will be the 14th and 15th launches of 2017. Up to five more are planned before the year's end.

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