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SpaceX Fourth Attempt to Launch Falcon 9 Rocket Postponed to Friday Due to Weather Conditions

March 2
5:15 AM 2016

SpaceX has scrubbed its plan to launch the Falcon 9 rocket for the fourth time. After three times cancelled due to failure in fuel, the Tuesday plan to launch the rocket was once again scrubbed due to wind shear. The fifth attempt to launch Falcon 9 rocket is set to be Friday. 

"Pushing launch to Friday due to extreme high altitude wind shear. Hits like a sledgehammer when going up supersonic," SpaceX founder and CEO tweeted. The first two attempts to launch the rocket was scrubbed due to failure in the liquid oxygen fuel, which the company had taken care of before the next attempt.

The third attempt last Sunday was first delayed because a boat strayed too close to the danger zone where the rocket's booster is supposed to land. After the zone is cleared 35 minutes later, SpaceX faces another unexpected technical failure on its fuel, likely caused by the delay. Other than that, SpaceX reported that the rocket is in a good condition. Business Insider noted that SpaceX is simply being extra careful to make sure everything goes smoothly once the rocket lifts off the ground.

The fourth launch attempt to launch the rocket took place at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. According to Click Orlando, the launch window will open slightly earlier compared to the previous three attempts, giving them a better chance to avoid upper-level winds. 

FloridaToday reported that a launch forecast revealed by the 45th Weather Squadron had described conditions as 80 percent favorable for a launch attempt. A spokesperson for SpaceX Philip Larson elaborated the condition that had forced them to abort the mission. "Unfortunately, upper-level winds continue to exceed acceptable limits and are expected to get worse as we approach tonight's launch window, so we are forgoing today's launch attempt. Winds are forecast to exceed acceptable limits through Thursday," Larson said. He also noted that the team will continue working with the Air Force's Launch Weather Officer to evaluate the best available opportunity for flight. A forecast for Friday has not yet been released. 

SpaceX acknowledged that it has low expectations of success on the planned booster landing. The ultimate goal of the Falcon 9 rocket is to reuse the booster after it's landed on a specific platform, making spaceflights more affordable. However, they want to make sure that they are being careful and thoughtful on the attempts. The Falcon 9 rocket will carry the  Boeing-made SES-9 communication satellite owned by Luxembourg-based satellite operator SES.

SpaceX decided to abort its fourth attempt to launch the Falcon 9 rocket on Tuesday. After clearing technical difficulties that had caused them to scrub the previous attempts, now the team was faced with an extreme weather condition. SpaceX plans to go for another attempt on Friday. 

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