CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (REUTERS) – Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, on Saturday delayed the planned launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying six communications satellites after cloudy skies socked in its Florida launch site.
The privately owned company had rescheduled launch for Saturday after encountering a technical problem minutes before a launch attempt on Friday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The rocket carries six small satellites for Orbcomm Inc , a provider of machine-to-machine data and messaging services worldwide. “Today’s Orbcomm launch attempt has been scrubbed due to weather. Currently reviewing next available launch opportunities,” SpaceX wrote on its website.
SpaceX had 53 minutes to launch the rocket, beginning at 5.46pm, to put the Orbcomm satellites into their designated orbits some 800km above Earth and inclined 47 degrees relative to the equator.
The launch on Friday was called off after engineers detected unexpected pressure readings in the rocket’s second stage engine. SpaceX provided no additional details of the problem.
For Saturday’s launch attempt, the California-based company, owned and operated by technology entrepreneur Elon Musk, canceled its webcast and provided no commentary about the launch countdown, a public service offered even for classified Department of Defense satellite launches.
“For the first time since the end of the Cold War, a space launch from Cape Canaveral will not be broadcast to the press and the public,” Spaceflightnow.com, which provides live launch coverage, wrote on its website.
SpaceX did not respond to emails about the blackout.
A new launch date has not yet been determined.