SpaceX might conduct three launches in FL and CA during the same week. The private space company had two launch delays over this weekend. Weather and a cruise ship prevented the space company from completing their launches.
Originally, a Falcon 9 rocket was set to launch out of Cape Canaveral, FL last Thursday. However, the possibility of bad weather pushed the launch out until the weekend. The launch was rescheduled for Friday and Saturday before eventually being pushed to Sunday. Just when the weather decides to behave, a rogue cruise ship was found in the launch hazard zone. Thus, the Falcon 9 launch had to be delayed yet again.
Finally, the Falcon 9 rocket was able to successfully launch from Cape Canaveral. It launched at 6:11 p.m. on Monday. In addition to that, SpaceX will attempt to launch another round of Starlink satellites from FL later in the week. The private space company will also be conducting a launch in CA, which will be a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office. The last time the space company launched three separate missions in a week was at the end of 2021. According to Fox Weather, they launched two rounds of satellites back to back, and also made a trip to the International Space Station back in December.
SpaceX Launches and Port Canaveral Are Conveniently (and Dangerously) Close to One Another
The SpaceX launches are only mere miles from Port Canaveral, which is where several passenger cruise ships depart from. Cruise ships being found in the launch hazard zone doesn’t happen often, though. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, this incident is going to be investigated. “The Coast Guard is actively investigating Sunday’s cruise ship incursion and postponement of the SpaceX launch in Port Canaveral,” the Coast Guard PADET Jacksonville office said. “Our primary concern is the safety of mariners at sea and we will continue to work with our federal, state and local port partners to ensure safe and navigable waterways.”
SpaceX and Port Canaveral do mix quite often, but never in a dangerous way. After launching, the space company often brings back the Falcon 9 booster and other spacecraft parts through the port. According to the CEO of Port Canaveral, “This, unfortunately, was an isolated incident that happened outside of our control.”
Cruise Ship Cuts Launch Short
Not only did the cruise ship stop the SpaceX launch from happening, but it did so at the last second. We mean that almost literally, too. There were less than 35 seconds left on the launch clock. Then, the cruise ship sailed into the hazard zone and the director of the launch said for everyone to “Hold! Hold! Hold!” The rocket was good to launch, but unfortunately, they could not keep the cruise ship from going into the hazard zone.