Falcon 9 Launch Delayed Again

Falcon 9 lifts off with the Thaicom-6 satellite. (Credit: SpaceX)
Falcon 9 lifts off with the Thaicom-6 satellite. (Credit: SpaceX)

UPDATE: ORBCOMM issued the following statement indicating that more testing was needed on one of the six satellites:

All six satellites have completed additional testing and are functioning as expected. In an effort to be as cautious as possible, it was decided to perform further analysis to verify that the issue observed on one satellite during final integration has been fully addressed. The additional time to complete this analysis required us to postpone the OG2 Mission 1 Launch. We are working with SpaceX to identify the next available launch opportunity, and we will update the schedule shortly.

ORBCOMM will have to wait a little longer to get their second-generation OG2 communications satellites into orbit. SpaceX has delayed a Falcon 9 launch scheduled for Sunday that would have carried six of the spacecraft.

No reason has been given, but the rocket has been plagued by helium leaks. The Patrick Air Force Base home page lists the next launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as “TBD.”

ORBCOMM originally booked flights aboard SpaceX’s smaller Falcon 1e rocket, with the goal of beginning launches in 2010. However, SpaceX decided not to pursue development of the Falcon 1e, forcing a shift to the Falcon 9.

In October 2012, a prototype OG2 satellite was stranded in the wrong orbit when the Falcon 9 launch vehicle suffered a failure of one of its nine engines. The spacecraft re-entered the atmosphere four days after launch.

This mission has been delayed multiple times. According to Spaceflightnow.com’s launch schedule page, the flight has been “delayed from September, November, April 30, May 10, May 27, June 11 and June 12.”