California-based space transport services company Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX, cancelled the Aug. 27-launch of its Falcon 9 rocket that was supposed to carry the AsiaSat-6 communications satellite.
In a statement released after the launch was cancelled, company founder and CEO Elon Musk cited a decision to review possible failure modes and contingencies for the postponement of the mission, which incidentally followed an Aug. 22 incident in Texas when a reusable Falcon prototype was destroyed during a test flight. Musk, however, said that the decision to postpone the launch is not associated with the test flight failure.
"The natural question is whether this is related to the test vehicle malfunction at our development facility in Texas last week," Musk said. "After a thorough review, we are confident that there is no direct link."
SpaceX is now apparently ready for take-off as it is confirmed that the company will attempt to blast off its rocket on Sunday morning from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex in Florida to launch the communications satellite of Hong Kong-based Asia Satellite Telecommunications Holdings, or AsiaSat, into orbit.
The AsiaSat-6, which will be the tenth AsiaSat-operated satellite, will provide video broadcasts and telecommunication services to Southeast Asia and China for the next 15 years and carries 28 C-band transponders, 14 of which will be leased to Thailand-based Thaicom in exchange for more than $170 million.
"For AsiaSat, the bulk of that capacity as we see it will be used in China - C-band capacity in China - for video services and other telecommunications and data services ... whereas we expect the Thais to use it for data services in Southeast Asia," said AsiaSat president and CEO William Wade.
It appears that the planned 12:50 a.m launch on Sunday is set to go with the latest forecast predicting 70 percent chances of favorable weather during the launch window which will be from 12:50 a.m. to 4:05 a.m. If the launch fails to push through again though, another launch can be attempted at the same time on Monday, which has been forecasted to have a slightly better weather.
Sunday's take-off will be the seventeenth for SpaceX and the twelfth for its Falcon 9 rocket, which first blasted off in June 2010. The mission will also be the second time that the company launches an AsiaSat satellite into orbit, the first being the launch of the AsiaSat 8 a month earlier on Aug. 5.