For the second time in two weeks, Hawthorne-based SpaceX scrubbed a planned launch today of 57 internet satellites from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
Wednesday morning's launch, scheduled for just before 9 a.m. California time, was canceled due to weather. SpaceX officials did not immediately announce a new date for the launch.
It was the second time the mission has been delayed. The launch had
been originally set for June 26, but it was delayed to allow more time for
additional "pre-launch checkouts.''
When it eventually lifts off, the Falcon 9 rocket will be carrying 57 Starlink internet satellites as part of SpaceX's planned array to provide worldwide low-cost internet access, particularly in under-served areas. It will be the 10th launch to date of Starlink satellites.
The latest batch of satellites will increase the Starlink array to nearly 600 satellites in orbit. It's unclear exactly how many satellites will ultimately be included in the constellation. SpaceX founder Elon Musk has said previously that the service could begin operating when it reaches 1,000 satellites, and the company has already begun soliciting people to be "beta'' testers of the service. But the more satellites that are deployed will mean more comprehensive internet coverage.
In addition to the 57 Starlink satellites, the SpaceX rocket will also be carrying a pair of satellites for Spaceflight Industries on behalf of Earth-observation company BlackSky.
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BlackSky is in the process of building its satellite array, with four already in orbit. The launch will increase the array to six, and the company has an initial goal of launching 16 by early next year. The array could ultimately have as many as 60 satellites, but timing on that expansion hasn't been determined.
Whenever the launch occurs, SpaceX will again attempt to recover the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket by landing it on the company's "Of Course I Still Love You'' barge in the Atlantic Ocean. The recovery process is an effort to slash the costs of launches by allowing rockets to be reused.
The first stage of the rocket being used for the Starlink mission was used in four previous SpaceX launches, including two Starlink satellite missions.