Friday, May 9, 2014

SpaceX Steps Back

As reported this afternoon by Florida Today and other media outlets, SpaceX has postponed its launch of the Orbcomm OG2 mission until at least late May.

Orbcomm issued this statement on their web site:

Today’s attempt to perform the static firing test was stopped while the rocket was being fueled. Both the OG2 satellites and the rocket are in safe condition and will be rotated horizontal and rolled back into the integration facility. This will prevent us from launching this weekend. We will keep you posted on when the next launch attempt will take place but it’s likely to be later this month.

SpaceX had hoped to launch OG-2 just 22 days after the launch of the commercial cargo CRS-3 mission to the International Space Station. It would have been the shortest turnaround of their Pad 40 in the company's brief history at the Cape.

With a Boeing Delta IV launch scheduled for May 15 and a Lockheed Martin Atlas V launch scheduled for May 22, SpaceX now has to wait. But as with all launches, something could go wrong with these too and SpaceX might get the next turn at bat.

Earlier in the week on May 8, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims lifted its injunction prohibiting new acquisitions of RD-180 engines from NPO Energomash.

Although the injunction was viewed by some as a victory for SpaceX, the company's lawsuit was to appeal the 36-launch block buy placed by the Defense Department with United Launch Alliance. The injunction simply enforced a White House executive order that for now does not appear applicable, since Administration representatives from the State and Treasury Departments filed documents with the court stating they had no evidence that Russian deputy prime minister Dmitri Rogozin personally controls or profits from NPO Energomash.

The SpaceX lawsuit continues to proceed.

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