The SpaceX launch scheduled for the pre-dawn hours of today was postponed due to high winds in the Cape Canaveral area, and has been tentatively rescheduled for Thursday, March 16 at 1:35 am. Viewers can watch the launch live on the SpaceX webcast.
Standing down due to high winds; working toward next available launch opportunity.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) March 14, 2017
This upcoming mission will be historic, as it will be the first time SpaceX will “re-use” a previously flown rocket. Re-use of rockets is critical to the SpaceX mission to drive down the cost of space flight. The mission is intended to place the Echo Star XXIII communications satellite into geosynchronous earth orbit.
The FAA granted a license for the launch, which will take place from historic launch pad 39A, on March 1. That license brought with it a requirement that SpaceX carry $63 million in pre-launch liability insurance — five times the amount required for previous flights. The insurance is intended to cover any damage to government property in the event of an accident prior to liftoff.
A Falcon 9 rocket exploded on a nearby Air Force launch pad during pre-flight testing last September, doing extensive damage to the launch facility. Previously, the government required only $13 million in pre-launch insurance coverage. The resupply mission to the International Space Station in February was not required to carry extra insurance.
SpaceX carries separate insurance to protect government property during the actual launch itself, but in the event of an explosion or other mishap, the rocket could damage the launch area or other parts of the space facility.
SpaceX has not revealed details about why the increased level of insurance was imposed for this flight, although the FAA may have additional concerns because this mission will be the first to make use of a Falcon 9 rocket that has been previously used for a space mission.
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