Satellite launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base delayed until Wednesday

Olive Hawkins
February 20, 2018

Now that it's been some time since that launch, it's time for the company to return to its regular routine. From Feb. 18, the launch has been pushed to Feb. 21. "Payload and vehicle remain healthy". Teslarati's Pauline Acalin snapped a photo of Mr. Steven docked on the California coast near Vandenberg Air Force base, preparing to head out to sea to support the next Falcon 9 mission, PAZ, which includes imaging satellites for Spain as well as SpaceX's own test satellites for its forthcoming broadband internet service. According to Space, developing reusable and recoverable payload fairings would provide significant savings to SpaceX-each one costs about $5 million. "Due to mission requirements, now targeting February 21 launch of PAZ". According to a report from the San Diego Union-Tribune, the new launch time on Wednesday morning could mean a "pre-dawn contrail that could be visible from San Diego County". Even still, the current state of the rocket is already impressive. The Falcon 9 rocket a previously flown first stage booster that also launched the Taiwanese Formosat-5 satellite in August 2017. The primary mission for Wednesday's launch is the Paz Earth satellite, which was built by Airbus and will be operated by Spanish government satellite services operator Hisdesat.

"Back in 2015, Facebook decided against spending up to $1 billion on a satellite that would provide Internet to under-served regions in Africa and other continents".

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The last time SpaceX launched a satellite-carrying rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, it caused quite a stir. "Yet Teledesic closed in 2002, after racking up more than $9 billion costs".

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. The estimated cost of Falcon 9 launch is now at around $63 million, assuming total expendable configuration, so cutting a potential $6 million from that total, on top of reusable booster benefits, could be significant.

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