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SpaceX scrubs Wednesday launch attempt at Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy space center
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

SpaceX scrubbed a launch attempt Wednesday night with just over 2 minutes on the countdown clock. The mission was set to send up another batch of Starlink satellites from the Space Coast using a first-stage booster for a record-tying 19th time.

SpaceX did not give a reason for the scrub, or say if it plans to try for its previously announced backup date on Thursday.

If it does, a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 23 of SpaceX's internet satellites flying from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39-A could fly during a four-hour window Thursday that opens at 7:04 p.m.

Space Launch Delta 45's weather squadron forecasts a 95% chance for good conditions with the delay to Thursday.

The first-stage booster could equal the total number of flights by two of SpaceX's other boosters, one of which, though, was destroyed when it toppled over at sea.

This booster's resume includes two human spaceflights, the Inspiration4 orbital flown by billionaire Jared Issacman and the first private spaceflight for Axiom Space on its Ax-1 mission to the International Space Station. It has also flown the GPS III Space Vehicle 04, GPS III Space Vehicle 05, Nilesat 301, OneWeb Launch 17, ARABSAT BADR-8 and 11 Starlink missions.

SpaceX will attempt its recovery downrange in the Atlantic Ocean on its droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas.

The first booster to hit 19 fell over on its recovery droneship because of rough weather at sea in December. That lost booster had historic significance as it was used on the Demo-2 flight, which was SpaceX's first human spaceflight, back in 2020, and the only booster to feature a NASA logo, the iconic "worm" version. Newer boosters have upgraded landing legs with the capability to self-level, SpaceX has said.

A booster currently flying launches from California hit 19 on a launch on Feb. 23, so it has the potential to become the fleet leader.

SpaceX had its first successful recovery more than eight years ago and has since made 283 successful landings among Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets. Among boosters for which it attempted recovery landings, it had not lost one since February 2021.

Falcon 9 launches remain the workhorse rocket for SpaceX, responsible in 2024 for 16 of 17 launches from the Space Coast including this launch.

Across its two Florida and one California launch pads, Falcon 9's will have flown 25 times during a year Elon Musk has said the company could have as many as 150.

2024 Orlando Sentinel. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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