A planned launch of a mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base by Hawthorne-based SpaceX was scrubbed Wednesday morning and postponed 24 hours because of strong winds high in the atmosphere, officials said.
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The launch of a Falcon 9 rocket had been scheduled for last Saturday, then it was pushed to Sunday, then it was delayed again until a planned 6:17 a.m. liftoff Wednesday. Now, it may happen Thursday.
The Falcon 9 rocket’s primary payload is a Spanish-government Paz satellite, but documents cited by multiple media outlets indicated that the rocket will also be deploying a pair of demonstration satellites that are part of Elon Musk’s vision to create a space-based broadband network providing worldwide affordable internet access.
According to a communication between SpaceX and the Federal Communications Commission, the mission will deploy satellites known as Microsat- 2a and Microsat-2b. Those satellites were described by the company in an earlier license application as part of a test of a “broadband antenna communications platform.”
Documents cited in media reports identify the satellites as part of a SpaceX program known as “Starlink,” which envisions an array of nearly 12,000 satellites circling Earth within about six years, creating a worldwide internet system.
A December launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg created an evening visual spectacle over the Southland, with hundreds of people snapping photos of the light show and posting them online, with some even suggesting it was an alien invasion.
—City News Service
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