SpaceX delays today’s Falcon 9 launch using booster for 3rd time


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Capitalism in space: SpaceX has delayed today’s Falcon 9 launch that would have been the first time a first stage had launched for the third time.

“Standing down from Monday’s launch attempt of Spaceflight SSO-A: SmallSat Express to conduct additional pre-flight inspections. Once complete, we will confirm a new launch date,” SpaceX representatives said via Twitter on Saturday (Nov. 17).

They did not offer further details, so it’s unclear what issue prompted the call for further inspection.

The delay is expected to be about a week. I suspect that they decided, after their standard prelaunch static fire last week, to review the data more carefully. The Block 5 first stage has already flown twice this year, in May and August. A launch in November means they are averaging a relaunch every three months, a pace that is far faster than NASA ever achieved in reusing its space shuttle.

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3 comments

  • Dick Eagleson

    This mission will carry up a zoo of smallsats on the first dedicated mission by any launch services provider for Spaceflight, Inc., which has, up to now, been a rideshare broker/packager. The stated reason for the delay seems pretty clearly to be a potential issue with one or more of the smallsats that constitute this mission’s payload, not the launch vehicle. Since Amos-6, SpaceX has ceased doing any hot fire tests with payloads mounted so it’s hard to see what use additional review of hot fire data would be anent this particular delay.

  • Curious if SpaceX puts ‘mission flags’ on it’s boosters. Because if they don’t, they are totally missing the boat. (Oh, sorry, Mr. Stevens).

  • Edward

    Blair Ivey,
    My recollection is that they do not repaint the Falcons between missions.

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