The SpaceX Delays

As most of us have seen SpaceX have suffered a number of delays recently, one of these was due to a customer concern, another due to a range failure. However the majority have been due to problems internal to SpaceX.

I have seen many posts complaining about these delays and the lack of information from SpaceX. If I am totally honest I have been one of those complaining.

However when I put my business hat on I can understand these delays and this article tries to explain them from an outsiders perspective.

First SpaceX is a private business and while Space Launches are exciting for the fans they are the revenue stream for SpaceX. SpaceX cannot afford to have a launch fail and any indication that something is not right on the vehicle could lead to that failure, therefore it makes sense to me that they would rather delay a little while investigating so they can be confident that the launch will be as successful as possible.

Second SpaceX is looking to expand into the lucrative Government contract business and while they have passed initial Certification requirements for Falcon 9 any failure could impact the changes of being award these regardless of the cost difference.

Third any failure would give fuel to all the detractors of SpaceX, and there are plenty of them still despite how successful SpaceX have been so far.

Fourth SpaceX are currently competing to launch crews on the same Falcon 9 rocket that is used today, any failure could impact the changes on this continuing.

So while it is frustrating for all of us who support SpaceX and the vision Elon Musk has for the future of cargo and manned spaceflight we also have to understand that there is far too much riding on each launch for them to ignore any concerns.

Recently SpaceX said they would not be Live Streaming the launches because they had become routine, however this isn’t the case as these delays have proven.

Soyuz Launches O3b Satellites

This afternoon a Soyuz rocket lifted off from Guiana Space Centre carrying four 03b satellites to orbit.  These satellites will complement the existing 03b satellites that are already in orbit and provide high speed internet around the world.

The rocket lifted off as expected at 2:55 pm EDT, 2m later the four strap-on boosters completed their job and separated from the main stage which continued upward. 4m into the flight the fairing protecting the satellites was ejected having served it’s purpose.  After 5m 15s the third stage took over and continued to power the rocket into space as the second stage fell away below it.  9m 40s into the flight the third stage shutdown leaving the Fregat upper stage and satellites in orbit to begin their journey.

The Fregat stage performed three separate burns to deliver the the first two satellites to their drop off location, once they separated successfully Fregat fired one more time so the other two satellites could separate correctly.

O3b’s Steve Collar confirmed that Ground stations have acquired signals from all four satellites launched today.

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Upcoming Launches

It’s going to be a busy few days with three separate launches. Later today at 2:55 PM EDT a Soyuz is scheduled to liftoff from French Guiana carrying four satellites for O3b Networks.  Then on Saturday 7/12 at 01:14 PM EDT an Antares is scheduled to liftoff from Wallops Island carrying a Cygnus spacecraft for the International Space Station.  And finally on Monday 7/14 at 09:21 AM EDT a Falcon 9 is scheduled to liftoff from Cape Canaveral carrying six OG2 satellites.

Check back here over the next few days for updates to these missions and where possible launch pictures and news.