SpaceX delays Monday launch of Falcon 9 rocket from KSC

Rocket to launch no earlier than Friday, SpaceX says


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The planned Monday afternoon launch of a Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center with a commercial communications satellite has been delayed, SpaceX said on Sunday, according to News 6 partner Florida Today.

The company tweeted that technical issues with a valve forced teams to delay the launch from pad 39A to no earlier than Friday with a second opportunity on Saturday.

"Standing down on BulgariaSat-1 to replace a fairing valve," the tweet read.

Air Force weather forecasters predicted questionable conditions during the two-hour launch window that opened at 2:10 p.m., citing cloud and storm-related concerns. Conditions were 40 percent "go" for the Monday launch attempt.

SpaceX did not offer specifics on a new launch time, Florida Today reported.

The company has been contracted to launch BulgariaSat-1, the country's first communications satellite designed to transmit television programming to the Balkans and southeastern Europe.

The launch will mark SpaceX's second attempt to launch and land a previously flown, or "flight proven," Falcon 9 first stage. It was recovered from a January launch of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. CEO Elon Musk sees the full-circle reusability as crucial to lowering launch costs and increasing access to space.

Due to fuel constraints, the first stage of the rocket will not land back at Cape Canaveral – instead, it will target a soft landing on the "Of Course I Still Love You" drone ship stationed a few hundred miles off the coast of Florida.

SpaceX is also targeting Sunday for the launch of more Iridium NEXT satellites from Vandenberg.

"Iridium targeted for 6/25 – could be a weekend doubleheader," the company said via Twitter.