A SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Carrying the GPS III SV01 Navigation Satellite to the US Air Force stands on its launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida as day breaks for an attempt to launch on December 22, 2018.
Launch of a SpaceX rocket with advanced GPS satellite to the US Air Force on Saturday (December 22) has been delayed for 24 hours at high windmills at the mission Florida launch site, company officials said.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was minutes from the launch of the new GPS III SV01 satellite, the first of a new breed of US navigation satellites, from a cushion in Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (lift was set at 9:21 AM or 1421 GMT) when the company officially stood for the day. Flight controllers had tracked unacceptably high upper wind throughout the otherwise smooth countdown.
"We had a team called for upper wind power that was not at the limit of flight," said Tom Praderio, a SpaceX firmware engineer, under live comments. The next launch attempt is Sunday, December 23 at. 8:51 am EST (1351 GMT). [How GPS Satellites Work]
Saturday's delay is the latest holdup for the GPS III SV01 launch.
SpaceX attempted to launch the navigation satellite on Tuesday (December 18), but an unexpected sensor reading on the Falcon 9 rocket's first phase forced the company to stand for two days to study the error. Wrong weather counteracted another launch attempt on Thursday (December 20), causing slip to Saturday.
The GPS III SV01 satellite was built by Lockheed Martin and is the first of a new fleet of ultra-precise satellite navigation navigation for US military and civilian use. The nickname Vespucci (after Amerigo Vespucci, namesake in America), the SUV-sized satellite will replace the aging SVN-43 GPS satellite. Launched in July 1997, Air Force officials have said.
The flight of the GPS III SV01 is SpaceX's last mission this year and will mark the 21st launch of 2018 for Hawthorne, California's based company.