SpaceX's return to flight delayed another week

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, which was scheduled to launch Monday, is now set to take off from Vandenberg Air Force Base on January 14, the company said Sunday.

SpaceX delayed its return to flight for the Falcon 9 rocket, and is now targeting a Jan.14 launch.

The company said its investigation of the September 1 explosion found that a tank failed within the larger, second-stage liquid oxygen tank.

According to Musk, the failure might have been caused by a small carbon composite wrap that covers three vessels which contain helium required to replace oxygen from the fuel tank.

"With completion of the static fire test, our first launch has just gotten that much closer", Desch said. The rocket was fueled and briefly fired its nine main engines without any reported issues, officials said.

SpaceX's west coast launch pad is located at Vandenberg Air Force base, in the mountainous shore north of the company's Hawthorne, CA headquarters.

The company's Falcon 9 was due to return to space today, but the weather turned against Elon Musk.

The FAA license notes that SpaceX will fly the newest, Version 1.2 configuration of its Falcon 9 rocket. The company plans to reconfigure its helium tanks and load the gas at a warmer temperature.

Those satellites are created to increase the company's speed and bandwidth.

It was originally scheduled for Sunday, but a public affairs officer at Vandenburg Air Force Base told CNBC Friday that the launch is now tentatively scheduled for Monday at around 10:22 a.m. local time. SpaceX received on last Friday approval from FAA to perform launch of Falcon and ground specialists teams managed to perform successful test fire. SpaceX said the aluminum inner lining had buckled, allowing liquid oxygen to accumulate, then explode when solidified by super cold helium and exposed to pressure and friction. The final solution in a longer term will be making major changes to the vessels to prevent any oxygen pool formation in the first place.

"Another failure would be very bad for SpaceX, because although the company still has a few years worth of launches on the books, it will have a hard time selling future customers on its safety record with a pair of back-to-back launchpad mishaps", wrote Wired.

SpaceX's planned rocket launch was delayed five days until January 14 because of bad weather. That number includes the 66 operational spacecraft needed to update the Iridium network, plus spares.

  • Joey Payne