A Space Exploration Technologies rocket remains at Vandenberg Space Force Base with the next launch attempt aiming for Sunday morning.
A Space Exploration Technologies rocket remains at Vandenberg Space Force Base with the next launch attempt aiming for Sunday morning. Credit: Contributed photo

A Falcon 9 rocket and its 10 military satellites will wait until at least Sunday, or possibly longer, before trying to depart from Vandenberg Space Force Base

The Space Exploration Technologies team counted down toward zero on Thursday, but a last-minute abort with 3 seconds left the vehicle sitting at Space Launch Complex-4.

“SpaceX will not make an attempt for SDA’s Tranche 0 launch today (3/31), as previously scheduled,” Space Development Agency officials said Friday morning on Twitter

“They are working quickly to resolve issues discovered during yesterday’s launch attempt.”

SpaceX representatives said they were standing down Friday “to allow more time for vehicle preparations.”

“Targeting no earlier than April 1 for next liftoff attempt,” SpaceX added. 

But Friday afternoon, the mission had slipped to Sunday with the team planning for a 7:29 a.m. departure from Space Launch Complex-4 on South Base.

Weather is 90% favorable for a liftoff attempt Sunday morning. However, clouds will return to the forecast which may not be optimal for those hoping to view the flight.

Awaiting their ride into orbit via Falcon are 10 satellites for the military’s newest tool for relaying data and tracking missiles.

The Space Development Agency formed in 2019 to create a new way of ordering and orbiting satellites with an eye toward getting them bought, built and launched quicker than before. 

That led to the development of the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture which is designed to have hundreds of satellites for tracking missiles and relaying data.

This will mark the second flight for the rocket’s first-stage booster which previously carried Starlink satellites to space. 

After finishing its chores, the first-stage booster will return to land at Vandenberg less than 8 minutes after liftoff.

That return to the landing site may produce sonic booms for those in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties.

SpaceX rocket launches and landings typically attract onlookers to the Lompoc Valley. 

Vandenberg has restricted access, but several locations around the Lompoc Valley provide views of the launch and landing sites, which are south of West Ocean Avenue (Highway 246). The locations include west of Lompoc, the peak of Harris Grade Road, and near the intersection of Mooglow and Stardust roads.

Providence Landing Park, at 699 Mercury Ave. in Vandenberg Village, also is a popular gathering spot along with West Ocean Avenue west of the Lompoc’s city limits.

A live broadcast of the mission can be found on the SpaceX website or its YouTube channel. 


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Janene Scully | Noozhawk North County Editor

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com.