A shiny new SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday successfully brought the latest military satellite into space for the US Space Force.
Elon Musk’s rocket company has finally launched the third-generation military GPS satellite after a series of previous delays. Originally it wasbut was pushed back a few days. It’s almost October 2, but the launch has been canceled with just two seconds left from the countdown timer.
Unexpected crashes have resulted in a number of other delays, notablysent four astronauts to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon ship, out of concern that problems could occur on other Merlin engines.
An investigation revealed a bit of “lacquer” clogged an exhaust valve line, prompting two of the missile’s nine Merlin engines to attempt to fire early. Suspected engines have been swapped out and a new launch date set.
Right now, GPS III Space Vehicle 04 is on its way to orbit. The first stage booster used in the launch landed on the Of Course I Still Love You drone in the Atlantic less than nine minutes after takeoff. It is set to make a second flight on another GPS satellite mission in 2021.
The company is also expected to try to rehabilitate halves of the pipeline or the bow cone by different ships.
The next SpaceX launch is expected to be the one abovefor NASA. Liftoff is set up on November 14.