SpaceX launches 60 more Starlink satellites, breaks ‘Scrubtober’ delay streak

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A Falcon 9 blasts off on Aug. 30.


SpaceX

Space fans have been starved for action lately, with three big missions repeatedly scrubbed and postponed over the past several weeks. But early on Tuesday, SpaceX finally ended the streak that became known as #Scrubtober (the hashtag previously known as #Scrubtember) with the launch and deployment of 60 new Starlink satellites via a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral. 

This Starlink mission was the Falcon 9 rocket booster’s third flight overall. It sent astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to orbit in May and then launched a South Korean satellite in July. So far, SpaceX has managed to launch and land the same rocket up to six times

The Falcon 9 first stage landed again on the droneship Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic about 8.5 minutes after launch Tuesday. SpaceX also reports that it caught at least one of the fairing halves that flew on two previous missions.

The launch, originally scheduled for September, was postponed multiple times, including twice last week due to heavy clouds in one case and an aberrant ground sensor reading in another. Monday’s scrub was yet again blamed on weather. 

Another SpaceX mission to launch a US Space Force GPS satellite has also been scrubbed multiple times, most recently on Friday. Meanwhile, United Launch Alliance has been trying to get one of its Delta IV Heavy rockets off the ground since August, but has been delayed at least six times. 

Musk expressed his clear frustration with the series of scrubs last week.

“We will need to make a lot of improvements to have a chance of completing 48 launches next year!” Musk tweeted Friday.

‘Scrubtober’ sadness: SpaceX and ULA launch scrubs disappoint skywatchers

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This rocket carrying a GPS satellite for the US Space Force is still waiting to launch. 


SpaceX

It was a September full of suffering for space fans that now seems to be bleeding over into October as a long series of launch delays continues with Monday’s scrub of a planned SpaceX Starlink mission

This marks the fifth time the launch has been pushed back in the past three weeks, and it comes just three days after SpaceX had to stand down once again from launching a GPS satellite for the US Space Force on Friday. That mission has also been postponed now a total of four times in the past week. 

The delays aren’t only affecting SpaceX. A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket was set to lift a new US spy satellite into orbit Aug. 27 and has been delayed no less than six times since, most recently on Sept. 30. 

The postponements have happened for a variety of reasons. Several have been tied to poor weather conditions near Cape Canaveral in Florida, but there have also been issues with launch pad equipment, sensors and mechanical matters that have caused scrubs. 

Each delay is a schedule-wrecker not only for the companies and crew directly involved in the missions, but for a bevy of space enthusiasts, (ahem) journalists and other observers who are hankering for a blast-off. “My hobby of watching rocket launches is turning into a hobby of watching rockets sit on the pad while people say