SpaceX delays Starlink fleet launch due to weather, aims for another rocket flight tonight

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You can watch SpaceX's SAOCOM 1B launch live here beginning at about 7:05 pm ET (2305 GMT). 

Update for 8 p.m. EDT: SpaceX has successfully launched the SAOCOM 1B mission into orbit. Read our full story here.

Original story below:

SpaceX's hopes for a Falcon 9 rocket launch doubleheader this weekend have been thwarted by Mother Nature. 

Bad weather forced SpaceX to call off its planned launch of 60 Starlink internet satellites from Pad 39B of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida this morning (Aug. 30) even as the company counts down toward a second launch from the nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station tonight. The Starlink launch was targeted or 10:12 a.m. EDT (1412 GMT).

"Standing down from today's launch of Starlink due to inclement weather during pre-flight operations," SpaceX representatives wrote on Twitter. "Next launch opportunity is Tuesday, September 1 at 9:29 a.m. EDT, pending Range acceptance."

Related: SpaceX's Starlink satellite megaconstellation launches in photos

With Starlink delayed, SpaceX will now focus on tonight's launch of the SAOCOM 1B radar Earth-observation satellite for the Argentina's space agency, the Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales (CONAE). SAOCOM is short for Satélite Argentino de Observación COn Microondas (Argentine Microwaves Observation Satellite). The mission has been delayed since March due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The launch is scheduled for 7:18 p.m. EDT (2318 GMT) from Space Launch Complex 40 at CCAFS and include the launch of two small rideshare satellites: the GNOMES-1 weather satellite by PlanetiQ and the Tyvak-0172 nanosatellite built by Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems. 

You can watch that launch live here and on the homepage, courtesy of SpaceX. SpaceX's webcast will begin about 15 minutes before launch. You can watch the launch directly from SpaceX here.

If SpaceX had managed to launch two Falcon 9 missions today, it would have been a first for the company and the first dual launch from Florida since Nov. 11, 1966, when NASA launched the Gemini 12 crew and a docking target 99 minutes apart from different pads, according Spaceflight Now, which cited this launch log by astronomer Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

SpaceX will launch the SAOCOM 1B mission into a polar orbit, a rare trajectory for Florida launches as most launch from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base. The last polar-orbit launch from Florida was in 1969, according to Spaceflight Now.

The Falcon 9 rocket carrying SAOCOM 1 has flown three times before. It launched two uncrewed Dragon cargo missions for NASA (CRS-19 and CRS-20) and the company's ninth Starlink satellite mission. 

SpaceX aims to recover the Falcon 9 rocket's first stage with a landing at the company's Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.