SpaceX Scrubs Dual Falcon 9 Launches of Starlink and Anasis-2 in 3 Days for Technical Issues, Targets TBD

ANASIS-II communications satellite prepared for shipment from manufacturing site at Airbus cleanroom in Toulouse, France in June 2020 to launch site at Cape Canaveral in Florida on SpaceX Falcon 9. Credit: Airbus

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

“The booster supporting this mission previously launched @NASA astronauts @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug to the @Space_Station

 

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard, Saturday, May 30, 2020 at 3:22 p.m. EDT, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Demo-2 mission is the first launch with astronauts of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. As seen from the Indian River lagoon, Titusville, FL. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

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.”

SpaceX Falcon 9 for 10th Starlink comsat launch stands vertical at Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center below dismal weather that forced launch scrub on July 8 as it was vigorously venting liquid oxygen (LOX) in final minutes of countdown – now retargeted to July 11, 2020. Credit: Jean Wright/spaceupclose.com

 

In the meantime the Falcon 9 was lowered horizontal at pad 40 by pad technicians.

SpaceX Falcon 9 lowered horizontal at Space Launch Complex-40 at Cape Canaveral, FL after Anasis-2 launch scrub July 13. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

 

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.

Horrendous storm clouds over the VAB at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center that forced SpaceX Falcon 9 Starlink mission launch scrub on July 8 in final minutes of countdown – now retargeted to July 11, 2020. Credit: Jean Wright/spaceupclose.com

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.

SpaceX fairing catching ships GO MsTree and GO Ms Chief berthed in Port Canaveral on July 13, 2020. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

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.

SpaceX fairing catching ships GO MsTree and GO Ms Chief berthed in Port Canaveral on July 13, 2020. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Watch my commentary about the SpaceX Starlink launch at WFTV ABC 9 Orlando TV News on Jun 25

https://www.wftv.com/news/local/brevard-county/spacex-launch-another-round-starlink-satellites-friday/4WKS5J4QDBA7TJ2E4SPI5UJQRI/

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

Space Journalist Dr. Ken Kremer joins "Stay Curious"

Update on Artemis to the Moon with space journalist/photographer Dr. Ken Kremer to help you "Stay Curious."

Posted by American Space Museum & Space Walk of Fame on Monday, 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.
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Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events

SpaceX Falcon 9 for 10th Starlink comsat launch stands vertical at Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for launch targeted for July 8, 2020. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

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Ken Kremer

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. 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.

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