SpaceX’s final unveiling in 2020 will take place on Saturday 19 December, after an unexpected delay in the mission on Thursday. The company Elon Musk pulled the plug unveiled yesterday with less than two minutes left when the launch was counted. SpaceX said slightly high pressures in the high-end Falcon 9 rocket were a potential cause for concern.
Andy Tran, who hosted the SpaceX live broadcast yesterday, said: “There are a thousand ways that a launch can go wrong and there is only one way that can go right.
“And with that, we’re too cautious on the ground and if the crew or the vehicle sees anything that looks like even a little bit of it, they’ll stop counting.”
Instead of jeopardizing the payment burden, the launch was pushed to a backup window on Friday and then delayed again until Saturday.
SpaceX tweeted Friday morning: “To allow extra time for checkouts, now targeting Saturday, Dec. 19, for the launch of Falcon 9 NROL-108.”
Weather permitting, the launch will see SpaceX Falcon 9 carry a classified spy satellite into orbit for the U.S. Department of Defense’s National Inspection Office.
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While little is known about tomorrow’s payload, it is believed to be a spy satellite for the NRO.
The NRO added in a cryptic tweet this week that the satellite will protect American interests.
The NRO tweeted: “Gorillas are peaceful animals but can be wild when necessary.
“Like the gorilla, our # NROL108 mission is always vigilant and ready to defend itself, reflecting NRO ‘s commitment to protecting U.S. fighters, interests, and allies. NET launch Dec. 17 w / @ SpaceX “
On Friday the 45th U.S. Space Force Weather Squadron predicted a 90 percent chance of favorable weather on launch day.
The forecast states: “On Saturday, easterly winds will weaken and weaken as the high – pressure center moves north toward the mid – Atlantic.
“Onshore winds will lift clouds over the warmest waters towards the Space Coast.
“The main weather concern for Saturday’s effort is cumulus clouds associated with these coastal showers.”