SpaceX scrubs Tuesday rocket launch

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – SpaceX has scrubbed Tuesday's launch of a Falcon 9 rocket, citing wind shear as the reason.

"Pushing launch to Friday due to extreme high altitude wind shear. Hits like a sledgehammer when going up supersonic," SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted.

More details soon.


SpaceX will target its fourth attempt to launch a communications satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for Tuesday evening.

The launch window will open at 6:35 p.m. and close at 8:05 p.m., making it a slightly earlier window compared to the previous three attempts. SpaceX said the shift gives them a better chance of avoiding upper-level winds.

News 6 partner Florida Today reported that a launch forecast issued by the 45th Weather Squadron shows an 80 percent chance of favorable weather at Launch Complex 40. Primary concerns are cumulus clouds and the possibility of thick cloud layers.

The 45th Weather Squadron typically discusses weather conditions for a backup launch date in their forecasts. Thursday is listed as the possible backup, also with an 80 percent chance of favorable weather.

This comes after the California-based commercial launch company scrubbed its third attempt at 7:21 p.m. Sunday.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter that a low thrust detection led computers to automatically shut down the rocket’s nine engines about a second before it would have lifted off. He said that was caused in part by the rocket sitting on the pad 35 minutes longer than expected after a boat wandered into a safety zone below the planned flight path.

Previous attempts to launch the 11,600-pound SES-9 satellite on Wednesday and Thursday were scrubbed after SpaceX said it was having issues keeping the liquid oxygen chilled to its freezing point. The more dense form of the propellant allows greater launch performance in its upgraded version of the Falcon 9 rocket, the first of which was launched – and successfully landed – in December.

This launch, however, won’t give the Space Coast a chance to see the Falcon booster attempt a landing at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. SpaceX instead will try to land the first stage on an unmanned barge about 400 miles offshore of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean.

SpaceX does not expect a successful landing, primarily due to the high-orbit delivery of SES-9 and subsequent incoming speed of the booster stage.

Luxembourg-based SES designed the SES-9 satellite for customers in the Asia-Pacific region. It's a Boeing-built multifunctional satellite that will provide video, broadband, maritime and government communications capabilities from 22,000 miles over the equator.