VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., - An "early Christmas" for space fans was dashed today as Blue Origin and SpaceX announced that their planned launches of their New Shepard and Falcon 9 rockets would be postponed. The two companies planned on launching within minutes of each other today and were part of four planned launches scheduled for today. In addition, an Arianespace Soyuz rocket launch carrying a spy satellite for the French military called CSO-1 in French Guiana was postponed due to weather.
Blue Origin's New Shepard launch was scrubbed due to what the company called "a ground infrastructure issue," on Twitter. It was noted, however, that "The vehicle is in good standing. Stand by for updates as we see what weather looks like for tomorrow."
The Falcon 9 launch, already delayed due to wind conditions, was delayed after an abort order was given by the flight computer. "Vehicle and payload remain healthy," noted SpaceX via Twitter, and added, "next launch attempt is tomorrow."
The fourth and final scheduled launch - a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying the classified NROL-71 spacecraft for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office - is scheduled to lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 8:57 p.m. EST. The United States Air Force the space craft will help give "innovative overhead intelligence systems for national security."
Blue Origin's launch was to carry nine NASA-sponsored payloads to space, and SpaceX delayed the launch of the first GPS III satellite, made by Lockheed Martin.
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