While Elon Musk-founded SpaceX has an ambitious plan to execute 52 launches in 2022, its start to the year seems sketchy. The commercial space company had planned to launch an Italian satellite on Thursday (January 27) evening but it is yet to take off due to bad weather. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was originally scheduled to put into orbit the CSG-2 satellite but thick clouds and strong winds over Florida, US, forced a 24-hour delay.
The inimical weather system prevailed and pushed the engineers to further delay the launch, which meant no attempt could be made on Friday (January 28) either. The engineers are now looking at a window of opportunity on Saturday (January 29) evening (local time). Local weather stations predict up to 80 percent chance of good weather. But there's more. The winds at liftoff and upper-level wind shear still remain a concern for the SpaceX team.
SpaceX production manager Jessie Anderson said during a webcast of Friday's launch attempt that they had hoped for the weather to improve for liftoff, “but unfortunately we are standing down from today's attempt." The company said they will target a launch opportunity on Saturday, at 6:11pm EST (4:41am Sunday IST)."
SpaceX said it will broadcast the launch attempt live on Saturday via its website. The webcast will likely start a few minutes before the liftoff.
In another tweet, SpaceX has acknowledged that the shift has further tightened its already packed schedule with “back-to-back targeted Falcon 9 launches in Florida this weekend”.
A few more changes in schedule due to bad weather or technical issues could impact SpaceX's aim of conducting 52 launches this year. However, if successful, it would mark the most launches SpaceX has ever conducted in a single year.
CSG, or Cosmo-SkyMed Second Generation, is an Italian government system consisting of two satellites that observe Earth using synthetic aperture radar (SAR). The first of them was launched in December 2019. The second will be launched now.