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SpaceX delays rocket launch carrying Italian satellite due to bad weather

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation FM2 Earth-observation radar satellite for Italy stands atop Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida ahead of an attempted launch on Jan. 28, 2022.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation FM2 Earth-observation radar satellite for Italy stands atop Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida ahead of an attempted launch on Jan. 28, 2022. (Image credit: SpaceX)

Mother Nature has foiled a planned SpaceX launch for the second day in a row.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was originally supposed to launch the Cosmo-SkyMed Second Generation FM2 (CSG-2) satellite from Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Thursday evening (Jan. 27), but thick clouds and strong winds forced a 24-hour delay.

That has now turned into a 48-hour push, as bad weather nixed today's (Jan. 28) attempt as well.

"We were hopeful that weather conditions were going to improve for liftoff, but unfortunately we are standing down from today's attempt," SpaceX production manager Jessie Anderson said during a webcast of today's launch attempt. "The vehicle and the payload remain in good health, and our next launch opportunity is tomorrow at 6:11 p.m. Eastern time."

You can watch Saturday's (Jan. 29) attempt — which will include a landing of the Falcon 9's first stage at Cape Canaveral shortly after liftoff — here at Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly via the company (opens in new tab). SpaceX webcasts generally start 15 to 20 minutes before liftoff.

Related: The evolution of SpaceX's rockets in pictures

There's an 80% chance of good weather at Cape Canaveral on Saturday, with winds at liftoff and upper-level wind shear as the only concerns, according to a forecast (opens in new tab) from the U.S. Space Force's Delta 45 group.

Cosmo-SkyMed Second Generation is a collaboration among the Italian Space Agency, the Italian Ministry of Defense and the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Scientific Research. The system consists of two satellites, which observe Earth using synthetic aperture radar (SAR).

The first of those satellites launched in December 2019 atop an Arianespace Soyuz rocket. That spacecraft, known as CSG-1, zips around Earth in a sun-synchronous polar orbit with an altitude of 385 miles (620 kilometers). CSG-2 will head for the same orbit when it gets off the ground.

Mike Wall is the author of "Out There (opens in new tab)" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab)

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with Space.com (opens in new tab) and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.