For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER/TITUSVILLE, FL – SpaceX was forced to scrub the dual Falcon 9 launches of the 10th batch of the company’s own Starlink satellites as well as the Anasis-2 mission for the South Korean military in the course of just three days from the Florida Space Coast this past week on Saturday, July 11 and Tuesday, July 14.
And new target launch dates are TBD as SpaceX engineers evaluate the hardware on both rockets.
Both postponements were caused by hardware and technical issues with Falcon 9 rocket, SpaceX announced.
On Monday afternoon July 13 roughly 1 day before the planned liftoff SpaceX preemptively announced that the Anasis-II mission would be delayed for an indefinite period to check out the second stage of the once flown Falcon 9.
“Standing down from tomorrow’s launch of ANASIS-II to take a closer look at the second stage, swap hardware if needed. Will announce new target launch date once confirmed on the Range,” SpaceX tweeted.
Standing down from tomorrow’s launch of ANASIS-II to take a closer look at the second stage, swap hardware if needed. Will announce new target launch date once confirmed on the Range
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) July 13, 2020
Anasis-2 had been scheduled to liftoff on July 14 at approximately 5 p.m. ET from Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Furthermore the thrice delayed Falcon 9 rocket for the 10th Starlink launch was scrubbed yet again less than 2 hours before it was scheduled to liftoff Saturday morning at 10:54 a.m. ET.
“Standing down from today’s launch of the tenth Starlink mission to allow more time for checkouts; team is working to identify the next launch opportunity. Will announce a new target date once confirmed with the Range,” SpaceX tweeted.
Standing down from today's launch of the tenth Starlink mission to allow more time for checkouts; team is working to identify the next launch opportunity. Will announce a new target date once confirmed with the Range
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) July 11, 2020
The Anasis-2 postponement came just two days after SpaceX conducted a successful static fire test of the first stage engines at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
“Static fire test complete – targeting July 14 for Falcon 9 launch of ANASIS-II from SLC-40 in Florida,” SpaceX tweeted.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) July 11, 2020
This Falcon 9 first stage booster has flown once previously when it successfully launched the Demo-2 crew of two NASA astronauts to the ISS on May 30 from Florida.
Potentially SpaceX engineers could be investigating for any commonalities in problems with the second stage or elsewhere on the Falcon 9.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the firm was being “extra paranoid.”
“We’re being extra paranoid,” tweeted Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and CEO. “Maximizing probability of successful launch is paramount.”
In the meantime the Falcon 9 was lowered horizontal at pad 40 by pad technicians.
The tight spacing of launches comes as SpaceX seeks to significantly step up the firms launch cadence.
But they are at the mercy of the hard to predict Florida weather and the potential for technical problems interfering at any moment.
I was personally not surprised by the postponement of Anasis-2 since both of the fairing catcher ships GO Ms Tree and GO Ms Chief remained berthed in Port Canaveral and were not deployed to catch the nose cone halves as expected.
Potentially Anasis-2 could launch as soon as July 19 – but there is NO official confirmation from SpaceX.
No new date for the Starlink launch has been announced.
ANASIS-II is a secure communications satellite built by prime contractor Airbus in Toulouse, France for the South Korean military.
“Built for South Korea, ANASIS-II will provide secured communications over wide coverage,” said Airbus.
Based on the highly reliable Eurostar platform, ANASIS-II will be the 52th Eurostar E3000 satellite launched and will operate in geostationary orbit.
Watch my commentary about the SpaceX Starlink launch at WFTV ABC 9 Orlando TV News on Jun 25
Watch my live Starlink launch and post ULA Atlas V WDR interview about Mars 2020 rover and more at the American Space Museum ‘Stay Curious’ daily weekday show on June 22, 2020
Watch Ken’s continuing reports about Commercial Crew and Artemis and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Demo-2, Starlink, X-37B, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com
Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events