June 23, 2014 – After a weekend filled with delays, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) announced today that it will postpone the launch of six ORBCOMM satellites built by Sierra Nevada Corporation until some time in July.
SpaceX said that it had found a potential issue while conducting pre-flight checkouts during yesterday’s countdown and has chosen to do further evaluations, rather than moving forward with tomorrow’s rescheduled launch.
Sunday’s attempt was the third of the weekend, after a loss of pressure on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket on Friday, and a weather delay on Saturday. No details about the current issue have been released.
“SpaceX is taking a closer look at a potential issue identified while conducting pre-flight checkouts during yesterday’s countdown. SpaceX will stand down Tuesday while our engineering teams evaluate further, which will also allow the Range to move forward with previously scheduled maintenance,” SpaceX said in a mission update on Monday. “We are currently targeting the first week of July and will work with the Range to confirm the next available launch opportunities.”
When the ORBCOMM OG2 mission launches in July, it will deliver the first six next generation OG2 satellites into elliptical low-Earth orbit. The satellites, built by Sierra Nevada Corp. Space Systems, are commercial telecommunications satellites with advanced technology.
The OG2 satellites will provide existing customers with significant enhancements, such as faster message delivery, larger message sizes and better coverage at higher latitudes, while drastically increasing network capacity. In addition, the OG2 satellites are equipped with an Automatic Identification System (AIS) payload to receive and report transmissions from AIS-equipped vessels for ship tracking and other maritime navigational and safety efforts.
The six satellites are part of a satellite constellation. The remaining 11 satellites in the system are expected to launch later this year.