2015 hasn’t exactly been the smoothest year for Elon Musk– CEO of Tesla, SpaceX– in regards to space travel. Last month, Musk’s first attempt to land the reusable Falcon 9 rocket ended in a fiery mess when it haphazardly collided with a floating drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean (it was supposed to land upright and intact).
Yesterday, SpaceX experienced more troubles after having to abort a planned launch of a long-awaited space weather satellite, along with a novel rocket landing test, because of problems with a radar tracking system. Amazingly, the scheduled Falcon 9 rocket was just 3 minutes away from launching from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Following the delay, Musk went to Twitter to update us on the upcoming plans for the rocket.
Air Force tracking radar went down. Launch postponed to same time tomorrow.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 8, 2015
#DSCOVR. Today’s launch attempt has been called off because of tracking issue. We will not be launching today. pic.twitter.com/OB81lahCeY
— NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) February 8, 2015
Currently, the rocket– which is carrying the Deep Space Climate Observatory– is scheduled to launch tonight at 6:07 p.m. EST. It can be seen live online with coverage starting at 5:00 p.m. by clicking this link.
As bad as these setbacks appear, though, they are to be expected as this young company experiences growing pains in their attempt to become the preeminent space travel company.
Tonight’s launch will actually be ground-breaking in that it is launching the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR for short), a project that has been in the works– delayed time and again– for the past 17 years. DSCOVR’s main purpose is to beam live, constant of Earth to enhance scientific study and discovery.
Florida Senator Bill Nelson says of the impending mission, “Politics got in the way and the mission was cancelled (throughout the years), but fortunately some visionary folks from NASA and NOAA knew that this payload was so important that they kept it alive and in storage so that it could have additional instruments added to it.”
Make sure to tune in tonight to watch the launch and follow its progress with us over the upcoming weeks and months.