SpaceX is set to launch a Falcon 9 rocket with a payload of 143 satellites aboard today. However, only a few minutes before the rocket was supposed to lift off, the launch was canceled. There was no problem with the rocket or the payload. The launch was scrubbed due to poor weather conditions at Cape Canaveral.
Reports indicate the mission was scrubbed because conditions at Cape Canaveral violated the electrical field rule for a safe launch. SpaceX plans to attempt to launch the Falcon 9 and its payload of satellites again tomorrow morning, with the launch window opening at 10 AM Eastern time. This launch was to be the first dedicated mission for a rideshare program SpaceX announced late in 2019.
The idea behind the program was to put dozens of small satellites into orbit at the same time to bring the cost of the launch down for the participants. The program generated interest as the launch price was $10,000 per kilogram for delivery into a Sun-synchronous orbit. The SpaceX mission will put 133 commercial and government satellites into orbit along with 10 Starlink satellites.
The 10 Starlink satellites in the mission are the ones SpaceX attained permission to deploy into a polar orbit to provide coverage to Alaska. Once the launch happens, and the satellites are safely in orbit, SpaceX will surpass the previous record for most satellites launched in a single mission. The previous record was held by India when it launched 104 satellites from one mission in 2017.
SpaceX has been rather mum about interest in its rideshare program. Judging by the 133 commercial government satellites aboard the Falcon 9 rocket, it would seem there is demand. SpaceX hasn’t mentioned any potential launch window if the weather delays the launch again on Sunday.