SpaceX delays Starlink launch amid busy week as weather threatens

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket topped with Starlink satellites waits on the pad before its launch in February 2021.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket topped with Starlink satellites waits on the pad before its launch in February 2021. (Image credit: SpaceX)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX has postponed the latest flight of its Starlink satellite fleet this morning (Nov. 12) due to poor weather conditions here at the launch site. 

The California-based rocket builder planned to launch 53 Starlink satellites from Florida at 7:41 a.m. EST (1241 GMT) Friday to continue expanding its fleet. But just under an hour before liftoff, SpaceX announced on Twitter that it was standing down because of rainy conditions. The company said it would instead be targeting its backup launch date, Saturday (Nov. 13). 

"Standing down from today's launch due to weather. Forecast improves to 80% favorable for tomorrow's launch opportunity at 7:19 a.m. EST," SpaceX wrote on Twitter.

Related: SpaceX's Starlink satellite megaconstellation launches in photos

The mission will star a veteran Falcon 9 rocket with three flights under its belt. Dubbed B1062 by SpaceX, the booster was scheduled to make its fourth trip to space; it previously launched two different upgraded GPS III satellites for the U.S. Space Force, as well as four private citizens on a three-day orbital expedition as part of the company's Inspiration4 mission. 

Today's flight would have marked the second launch this week for SpaceX. The private spaceflight company has had a busy week, as it returned one crew of four astronauts from the International Space Station on Monday night (Nov. 8), followed by the launch of a different crew of astronauts on Wednesday (Nov. 10).  

Forecasters at the U.S. Space Force's 45th Space Delta weather squadron originally predicted a 60% chance of favorable weather conditions going into today's launch attempt, citing concerns about thick clouds and disturbed weather. Officials have said that the weather on Saturday is expected to be much more favorable, with an 80% chance of good weather. 

When it does get off the ground, this Starlink mission will mark the 15th dedicated Starlink mission of 2021 and SpaceX's 25th mission of the year.

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Amy Thompson
Contributing Writer

Amy Thompson is a Florida-based space and science journalist, who joined as a contributing writer in 2015. She's passionate about all things space and is a huge science and science-fiction geek. Star Wars is her favorite fandom, with that sassy little droid, R2D2 being her favorite. She studied science at the University of Florida, earning a degree in microbiology. Her work has also been published in Newsweek, VICE, Smithsonian, and many more. Now she chases rockets, writing about launches, commercial space, space station science, and everything in between.