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SpaceX delays Falcon 9 launch; Elon Musk blames aircraft, government regulations

From Playalinda Beach at Canaveral National Seashore, visitors watch a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

SpaceX delayed a planned Tuesday afternoon launch at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on the Tansporter-2 mission carrying 88 small satellites.

The launch window opened at 2:56 p.m, but called the attempt off after a no-go from the Eastern Range, the area over the Atlantic over which the Falcon 9 rocket would ascend.

Elon Musk posted to Twitter that it was called because of an aircraft that entered the “keep out zone,” while also critiquing the size of it, calling it “unreasonably gigantic.”

“There is simply no way that humanity can become a spacefaring civilization without major regulatory reform,” Musk stated. “The current regulatory system is broken.”

SpaceX said it will set up for a Wednesday launch opportunity, another 58-minute window that opens at 2:56 p.m. The 45th Space Wing weather squadron predicts a 70% chance for good weather for that attempt.

When it does launch, the Falcon 9 rocket booster will attempt to land back on land at the Cape, possibly causing a loud sonic boom over Central Florida. The booster has flown already on seven previous missions. Most recovery attempts occur at sea when they land on the SpaceX drone ships.

The mission is part of SpaceX’s SmallSat Rideshare Program, which offers its Falcon 9 to transport small satellites into orbit. This is the second such mission, this time carrying 85 commercial and government satellites such as CubeSats, microsats and orbital transfer vehicles as well as three more of SpaceX’s own Starlink satellites.

“While there are fewer spacecraft on board compared to Transporter-1, this mission is actually launching more mass to orbit for SpaceX’s customers,” the company said in a statement.


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