Thursday, December 29, 2011
SpaceX Postpones Secondary Satellite Launch
SpaceX had opted not to piggyback the launch of two small communication satellites with the crucial and potentially historic launch in February of the first commercial cargo flight to the International Space Station.
Originally the private aerospace development firm planned to send aloft two prototype Orbcomm satellites on the upcoming Feb. 7 launch of a Dragon capsule on a Falcon 9 booster rocket. Instead SpaceX has elected to delay the launch to a later mission as to reduce the risk of anything interfering with the Dragon’s primary mission.
A press release from SpaceX explains that the revised launch plan reduces risk for Orbcomm and allows SpaceX to focus on its upcoming demonstration under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program, according to an article in FloridaToday.com.
"SpaceX will fully verify the mission performance on the COTS mission and focus on the successful berthing of the Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station," the release says.
In total, SpaceX plans to launch a constellation of 18 Orbcomm OG2 satellites by 2014 on its Falcon 9 rocket.