SpaceX Delays Launch of 60 Starlink Satellites Again, This Time for Software Checks

SpaceX’s first 60 Starlink internet satellites sit atop their used Falcon 9 rocket on May 16, 2019 awaiting launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
(Image: © SpaceX)

The first big batch of SpaceX internet satellites will have to wait at least another week to get aloft.

Elon Musk’s company scrubbed the launch of 60 Starlink spacecraft tonight (May 16) about two hours before their planned 10:30 p.m. EDT (0230 GMT on May 17) liftoff, citing a desire to update software and perform some more checks.

“Standing down to update satellite software and triple-check everything again. Always want to do everything we can on the ground to maximize mission success, next launch opportunity in about a week,” SpaceX representatives said via Twittter.

Tonight’s scrub was the second in as many days. SpaceX also called off an attempt last night (May 15) because of strong high-altitude winds.

Starlink is designed to provide affordable internet access to people around the world. The first five dozen spacecraft won’t be nearly enough to do this; SpaceX will need about 400 satellites to provide minimal coverage and about 800 for moderate coverage, Musk has said.

The megaconstellation is a key part of SpaceX’s Mars-colonization plans. Revenue generated by the network will help the company develop and fly its next-generation Super Heavy rocket and 100-passenger Starship spaceship, Musk has said.

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