SpaceX postpones satellite launch

SpaceX postponed until at least Friday its launch of a Thai communications satellite, originally scheduled for 2:40 p.m. PDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

In a tweet posted on Thursday afternoon, the company said that "out of abundance of caution" it would delay the launch of the Falcon 9 rocket, which is now set to launch "no earlier than tomorrow".

The 6,600-pound Thaicom 8 satellite was built by Orbital ATK and is intended to provide broadcast and data services to South Asia and Southeast Asia. The satellite is expected to be deployed about 30 minutes after liftoff.

The Hawthorne company, whose full name is Space Exploration Technologies Corp., will again try to land its first-stage rocket booster on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean named "Of Course I Still Love You."

But since Thaicom 8 will be delivered to a high orbit -- meaning the first-stage booster will be subject to high velocities and re-entry heating -- SpaceX has said a successful landing will be "challenging."

SpaceX successfully landed its first-stage booster at sea during its last two launches. The company landed a first-stage booster on land in December.

-- Samantha Masunaga


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