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New target dates set for next two Falcon 9 launches

16 May 2018, 14:59 UTC
New target dates set for next two Falcon 9 launches
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The two GRACE-Follow On Earth science satellites are mounted atop five Iridium Next satellites in preparation for liftoff May 22 from California. Credit: Iridium
The launch of five commercial Iridium message relay satellites and a pair of U.S.-German orbiting geophysics probes on a Falcon 9 rocket from California has been delayed three days to May 22, and a week-long schedule slip to May 31 is expected for the next SpaceX flight from Cape Canaveral with an SES communications payload.
The delay for the Falcon 9 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, allows time for SpaceX to resolve an issue preparing the mission’s Falcon 9 rocket, Iridium chief executive Matt Desch said Monday.
Speaking to reporters in a conference call, Desch said SpaceX encountered a “minor processing issue” preparing a component of the Falcon 9 rocket. He did not provide further details on the nature of the problem, but said it was “not a big deal.”
Desch said Monday that the launch would likely be pushed back two days by the rcket processing issue, but Iridium announced Tuesday the mission would be delayed an extra day “due to range availability” at Vandenberg.
The launch from California had been scheduled for ...

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