Unfavorable Upper Level Winds Forces SpaceX To Call Off Falcon Heavy Rocket Launch


SpaceX scrapped the Falcon Heavy rocket launch on Wednesday, April 10 as unfavorable wind conditions prevent the company from taking advantage of the launch window.

Specifically, the giant rocket ran into unexpected weather problems with high upper wind shears. With the conditions showing no signs of improvement throughout the launch window of the prized rocket, Elon Musk's company ultimately decided to call it a day.

Fortunately, SpaceX identified a backup launch window on Thursday, April 11 at 6:35 p.m. EDT (22:35 GMT). It has a two-hour launch window, so the launch itself could take place as late as 8:32 p.m. EDT. Blastoff will be from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral in Florida. 

What Is This Falcon Heavy Mission?

According to the Verge, this event is the start of Falcon Heavy's commercial operations as it marks the first customer trip of the rocket. The rocket will be launching a communications satellite for Saudi Arabia into space.

This rocket's payload, called Arabsat-6A, is a high-capacity telecommunications satellite expected to deliver television, radio, Internet, and mobile communications to customers in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

More About The Falcon Heavy

Many have been waiting for the launch of the most powerful rocket in the world since its famous debut launch in February 2018.

The Falcon Heavy consists of three Falcon 9 cores strong enough for 5 million pounds of thrust during blastoff. It allows the rocket to send over 140,000 pounds of cargo into low Earth orbit. Delta IV Heavy, which is the second most powerful rocket in the United States, can only carry about 63,000 pounds to the same spot.

Another Falcon Heavy mission is planned in 2019, which is to carry 25 small satellites for the United States Air Force. Two other commercial launches of the Falcon Heavy have also been announced by SpaceX, according to the New York Times.

Last March 2019, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine even revealed that the space agency is considering using the Falcon Heavy to test the crew capsule Orion around the moon. While the agency ultimately decided to build their own massive rocket Space Launch System for this mission, Bridenstine says they could still tap SpaceX's Falcon Heavy in the future.

Photo: Flickr

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