It looks like fans of SpaceX would have to wait a little longer to see the space company's first Falcon 9 rocket launch since August 2016.
SpaceX postponed a planned Jan. 9 liftoff due to bad weather. The company's launch partner, Iridium, tweeted on Sunday, Jan. 8, that they would have to push back the scheduled Falcon 9 launch to Jan. 14 because their California site is expected to experience heavy winds and rain over the next few days.
Before this, SpaceX had earlier planned to send its rocket into space on Jan. 9 after securing a license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
First Falcon 9 Launch Since August 2016
The Jan. 14 event is supposed to be SpaceX's first Falcon 9 launch since August, when it successfully sent one into space carrying the Japanese-owned JCSAT-16 communications satellite.
The company had also lined up another liftoff in September but had to postpone its plans after the rocket it was meant to use suddenly exploded while being refueled for a pre-flight test at its Cape Canaveral launch site.
No person was injured during the explosion, but it ended up costing SpaceX its prized reusable rocket as well as the Israeli-owned Amos 6 communications satellite that it was scheduled to launch into orbit.
Space Communication, Ltd., the owner of the lost Amos 6, said it would be seeking $50 million for the destruction of its satellite, or at the very least another rocket launch from SpaceX, free of charge.
SpaceX has spent the past few months investigating the circumstances behind the Falcon 9 mishap. Its team examined nearly 3,000 video channels and telemetry data featuring the launch, and discovered that the explosion was caused by a failure in the rocket's liquid oxygen tank.
The space company said its team found "buckles" in the inner liners of composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs), which were supposed to store the Falcon 9's liquid helium supply. Chilled liquid oxygen might have gotten trapped inside these COPVs, triggering the rocket's sudden explosion.
"Although buckles were not shown to burst a COPV on their own, investigators concluded that super-chilled liquid oxygen can pool in these buckles under the overwrap," SpaceX explained.
"When pressurized, oxygen pooled in this buckle can become trapped; in turn, breaking fibers or friction can ignite the oxygen in the overwrap, causing the COPV to fail."
The FAA announced on Friday that it has accepted the report regarding the Falcon 9 and Amos 6 explosion and has ended the investigation.
The agency added that it has also granted SpaceX's request for a license to send Iridium NEXT satellites into space from a launch site at the Vandenberg Air Force Base.
SpaceX's deal with Iridium involves sending 10 satellites into space as part of the communications company's NEXT missions.
The Falcon 9 launches will feature an attempt to safely land the reusable rockets on a drone ship in the Pacific following their journey into orbit.
SpaceX still has about 70 missions on its launch manifest for its government and commercial clients. These launches are valued at more than $10 billion.