Watch live: SpaceX to make second launch attempt and try a dicey landing
Are you ready for round two? On Wednesday, SpaceX delayed the launch of a commercial communications satellite, SES-9, to a geostationary transfer orbit out of an abundance of caution. The company said it wanted to ensure that liquid oxygen temperatures are as cold as possible to maximize performance of the vehicle. So it's going to try the launch today at 6:46pm ET. Weather is better as well, with an 80 percent chance of "go" conditions when the launch window opens.
As with other recent launches, SpaceX will try yet again to fly its booster back to an automated ship in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. However, because this is a high orbit (about 35,000km above the equator) and will require a heavy vehicle with more fuel and more speed, returning safely back to Earth is far from a sure thing. Additionally, at 5,300kg, this is the heaviest payload SpaceX has attempted to deliver to a geostationary orbit.
Still, the company says it will make another attempt at a historic first, landing an orbital rocket on a sea-based platform. "The first stage of the Falcon 9 will attempt an experimental landing on the 'Of Course I Still Love You' droneship," SpaceX said in its press kit. "Given this mission’s unique GTO profile, a successful landing is not expected."