SpaceX forced to delay launch of Italian satellite due to bad weather

While SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, has an ambitious plan to execute 52 launches in 2022, its start to the year looks sketchy. The commercial space company had planned to launch an Italian satellite on Thursday evening (January 27), but it has yet to take off due to bad weather. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was originally slated to orbit the CSG-2 satellite, but thick clouds and high winds over Florida, US forced a 24-hour delay.

The hostile weather system prevailed and caused engineers to further delay the launch, which meant no attempt could be made on Friday (January 28) either. Engineers are now looking at a window of opportunity on Saturday evening, January 29 (local time). Local weather stations predict up to an 80% chance of good weather. But there is more. Takeoff winds and wind shear aloft are still a concern for the SpaceX team.

SpaceX production manager Jessie Anderson said during a webcast of Friday’s launch attempt that they had hoped the weather would improve for liftoff, “but unfortunately we’re pulling out of today’s attempt.” The company said it will target a launch opportunity on Saturday, at 6:11 p.m. EST (4:41 a.m. Sunday IST).

SpaceX said it would broadcast the launch attempt live on Saturday via its website. The webcast will likely begin a few minutes before takeoff.

In another tweet, SpaceX acknowledged that the change further tightened its already busy schedule with “consecutive Falcon 9 launches targeted in Florida this weekend.”

A some other schedule changes due to bad weather or youTechnical issues could impact SpaceX’s goal of completing 52 launches this year. However, if successful, it would mark the most launches SpaceX has ever conducted in a single year.

CSG, or Cosmo-SkyMed Second Generation, is an Italian government system consisting of two satellites that observe the Earth using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). The first of them was launched in December 2019. The second will be launched now.

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