Published: Thu, February 22, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

SpaceX satellite broadband test launch delayed to Thursday

SpaceX satellite broadband test launch delayed to Thursday

The launch of Falcon 9 was scheduled for February 18, however, due to final checkups of the payload fairings, the launch was postponed to February 21 from Vandenberg Air Force base in California.

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Almost three years after the announcement, and following the successful launch of the Falcon Heavy, the first satellites for the high-speed Internet network are now ready for launch.

SpaceX successfully launched the first Falcon Heavy, touted as "the world's most powerful rocket", into space on February 6.

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SpaceX launches its rockets from two facilities: the Space Launch Complex 40 in Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and Space Launch Complex 4 East at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

In addition to a Spanish company's radar satellite, the launch is expected to send up two experimental SpaceX satellites.

The advanced Paz satellite on board the rocket, owned by Hisdesat, will be used by scientific, commercial and government customers. There is a great business opportunity in launching data-gathering satellites at a lower cost while profiting from manned missions is uncertain.

SpaceX is using a recovery boat, called "Mr. Steven", that's outfitted with massive metal claws that are rigged to a net, as a means of gently recovering Falcon 9 payload fairings.

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During that mission, SpaceX recovered two side boosters, which landed smoothly back down on Earth on two separate launchpads. Unlike India's Mangalyaan, the Falcon Heavy joins the ranks of other Mars missions of space-faring countries to have missed reaching the Mars orbit on the very first attempt.

SpaceX is planning to use a giant net - one so huge that it takes up the majority of a high-speed watercraft named Mr. Steven - to catch reusable gear that falls back to Earth after missions to outer space. The estimated cost the fairing is around $6 million.

Fairings protect satellites and other objects that are being delivered to space.

Musk publicly acknowledged the existence of the prototype satellites, named Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b, for the first time via Twitter about an hour before the scheduled launch time Wednesday, although they had been previously revealed by filings with the Federal Communications Commission. The company even used reusable rocket technology on its superb launch of the Falcon Heavy Rocket. During the launch, Musk informed that it is quite hard to develop a ideal method to recovery the fairing but within six months the company will come out with a solution.

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