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SpaceX postpones next Starlink satellite fleet launch due to rocket camera issue

SpaceX called off the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 60 Starlink satellites on Oct. 22, 2020 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Here, the first stage of that Falcon 9 launches a previous Starlink mission from NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Sept. 3.
SpaceX called off the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 60 Starlink satellites on Oct. 22, 2020 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Here, the first stage of that Falcon 9 launches a previous Starlink mission from NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Sept. 3.
(Image: © SpaceX)

SpaceX called off the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 60 new Starlink internet satellites Thursday (Oct. 22) due to mission assurance concerns. 

The Falcon 9 rocket was less than 15 minutes from liftoff when flight controllers scrubbed the flight. The launch was scheduled for 12:14 p.m. EDT (1614 GMT) from Space Launch Complex 40 of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. 

"Standing down from today's launch of Starlink to allow additional time for mission assurance work: will announce next launch opportunity once confirmed on the Range," SpaceX representatives wrote in a Twitter update

"Just a small-seeming issue with loss of upper stage camera," SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk explained in a follow-up tweet today. "Probably nothing serious, but standing down to re-examine whole vehicle just in case."

That Range is the Eastern Range along Florida's Space Coast used for launches from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and NASA's nearby Kennedy Space Center. 

Today's planned Starlink launch was to be SpaceX's second flight this week and the 15th mission for the company's growing constellation of internet satellites. Another Falcon 9 rocket launched 60 Starlink satellites on Sunday (Oct. 18) from Pad 39A of the Kennedy Space Center. 

The Falcon 9 first stage for today's launch attempt is a veteran booster that has flown twice before. In September, it launched a previous Starlink mission and lofted the GPS III SV03 mission for the U.S. Space Force in June.

SpaceX has launched more than 800 Starlink satellites since 2019 as the company builds a megaconstellation that may eventually number about 14,000 satellites to provide global broadband internet coverage.

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Instagram.

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