SpaceX Falcon 9 launch delayed to Sunday due to unfavourable


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    The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that was set to take off from Vandenberg Space Force Base has been rescheduled due to unfavourable offshore weather conditions and will now take off before sunrise on Sunday. The Falcon 9 awaiting launch from the military base on the Pacific coastline in northwest Los Angeles is expected to blast off around 6:13 am PDT to boost a classified cargo into orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office on what is widely believed to be a naval mission. The original take-off was scheduled for last Thursday, however, was postponed to Saturday for “complete pre-launch checkouts and data reviews.”

    On Friday, the National Reconnaissance Office had informed that the launch was delayed due to “technical difficulties.” Subsequently, SpaceX, in a Twitter statement, updated that the take-off will take place no earlier than on Sunday due to “excessive upper level winds forecast” on Saturday.


    [SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket stands vertical on Space Launch Complex 4-East at Vandenberg Space Force Base. The rocket was lowered horizontal Thursday afternoon for troubleshooting. Credit: SpaceX]

    SpaceX Falcon 9 to launch classified NRO mission to orbit

    The NRO mission with SpaceX is a highly classified mission codenamed NROL-85. It is a usual scenario given NRO always keeps details about its launches undisclosed. “While we’re unable to discuss the specifics of this launch, we can confirm that we will have more than a half-dozen launches scheduled and a dozen payloads planned for orbit in 2022,” said Nathan Potter, an NRO spokesperson said, as quoted by “We can also confirm NRO is the only organization launching as part of the NROL-85 mission, and there are no rideshares,” he added. 

    The NRO is accountable for the development and launch of satellites to locate ships. The agency owns the US government’s fleet of intelligence-gathering spy satellites. In addition, it also supplies optical and radar surveillance imagery and data relay support. According to experts, noting the circumstances of the new launch- target altitude, inclination, and launch time- the Falcon 9 will put a fresh pair of the ‘Intruder’ naval reconnaissance satellite in orbit. To note, the ‘Intruder’ is sometimes called the Naval Ocean Surveillance System (NOSS) satellites. The NROL-85 marks SpaceX’s 14th Falcon 9 launch in 2022 and the third from Vandenberg Space Force.

    (Image: @SpaceX/Twitter)