It appears SpaceX just delayed the launch of its Falcon 9 rocket — the one to carry Starlink satellite prototypes into space — to Feb. 21, citing further testing as the reason behind the rescheduled launch.

It will give the company more time to check the rocket's refurbished nose cone. Falcon 9 was supposed to launch on Feb. 18 from Vandenberg Air Force Base pad, sending the company's Starlink internet satellites and Paz satellite into orbit. Even if the Feb. 18 launch followed through, the mission was already delayed 24 hours for further checks.

Delayed Falcon 9 Launch

SpaceX announced the delay on Feb. 17, saying it needed more time to check Falcon 9's upgrade payload fairing, the cone-shaped structure atop of the Falcon 9 that protects the payload — things that the rocket carries — as it hurtles through space.

"Team at Vandenberg is taking additional time to perform final checkouts of upgraded fairing," SpaceX tweeted. "Payload and vehicle remain healthy. Due to mission requirements, now targeting February 21 launch of PAZ."

Falcon 9 is one of SpaceX line of reusable rockets, which represent a revolution in the space industry. Before SpaceX successfully proved that rockets can be reused, all rocket launches have been one-time-big-time missions, with the rockets destroyed and practically useless after their flights. SpaceX proved that rockets could be like airplanes — no need to throw them out after a flight.

As Space.com reports, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk apparently expects to come up with solutions to fairing recovery in the next six months, which would streamline the refurbishment and reuse process. Even still, the current state of the rocket is already impressive. As the report notes, other components of the Falcon 9 are already recycled from previous missions, including a stage booster that launched the Taiwanese Formosat-5 satellite back in August 2017.

What's In The Falcon 9 Payload?

As for the payload, the mission's main goal is to launch Paz, a satellite that'll capture Earth images for a bunch of countries, including, as mentioned, Spain. There are also a couple of prototype satellites aboard — called Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b — that'll be part of a constellation of satellites called Starlink to beam superfast internet from space.

SpaceX has failed to explicitly mention about these satellites, though, and they only came up to public knowledge via documents the company filed with the Federal Communications Commission.

Make sure to check out SpaceX website to watch a livestream of the Falcon 9 launch on Feb. 21. Thoughts about the forthcoming launch? What about the delay? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!

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