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Home / trajectory

SpaceX again delays launch of reconnaissance satellite

Hawthorne-based SpaceX has delayed plans to launch a reconnaissance satellite into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base until Sunday.

“Due to excessive upper level winds forecasted for Saturday, we are now targeting no earlier than Sunday, April 17 for Falcon 9’s launch of NROL-85 from Vandenberg Space Force Base,” SpaceX tweeted late Friday.

The launch on behalf of the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office was previously scheduled for 6:41 a.m. Friday, but was then delayed until Saturday to provide additional time for pre-launch checkouts and data reviews, SpaceX posted previously on Twitter.

The launch is now tentatively set for Sunday. Afterward, SpaceX will again attempt to recover the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket being used in the mission by landing it back at Vandenberg.

Recovering the rocket will allow it to be used in future missions as a cost-saving measure.

If the Sunday launch is successful, the NROL-85 mission will mark the first time a previously used rocket booster has been employed for an NRO launch. The rocket — new at the time — was used in a reconnaissance satellite launch in February, also from Vandenberg.

Depending on weather conditions and trajectory, rockets launching from Vandenberg can often be spotted across Southern California as they hurtle toward space.

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