Shhh! SpaceX delays next, low-key Falcon 9 launch

Late yesterday, SpaceX delayed the next launch of its Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket, carrying the Thaicom 6 satellite. The launch had been scheduled for Friday afternoon from Cape Canaveral, but has been postponed until at least January 6, according to a brief post on the Facebook page of the 45th Space Wing, with additional launch opportunities January 8-12. (January 7 is unavailable since downrange communications facilities are needed for Orbital’s Antares launch from Virginia.) No reason for the delay was given, but reports that an “unspecified issue with the Falcon 9’s [payload] fairing” caused the delay.

SpaceX itself has been quiet on the issue, with no formal press releases or statements about the delay. In fact, SpaceX hasn’t announced anything through its website or other media channels about the launch, a far cry from its previous launch in early December. As of early January 3, SpaceX hasn’t tweeted since December 10 or posted to its Facebook page or Google+ page since December 8. Certainly the holidays are a reason of the lull, but the company hasn’t published anything about the upcoming launch at all, let alone the recent delay.

8 comments to Shhh! SpaceX delays next, low-key Falcon 9 launch

  • Patrick Kees

    One wonders if perhaps SpaceX is shifting its PR strategy. Perhaps they’ve decided that maybe “less is more”. The less they publicly share, the more they control their own message and less side-talk about potential problems or issues.

    One has to weigh the benefits of generous public disclosure vs feeding the FUD machine of those that might not want SpaceX to be (too) successful.

    A shift also make sense given the increasing tempo of launches. If the plan is to have 10 flights this year (or whatever the number) then maybe you reduce the communication load to a more manageable level.


  • G.R.R.

    Yeah, I have been wondering why no communication. We are coming up with nothing being said. At this time, they are acting like ULA, L-Mart or Boeing who only come out with adverts, rather than useful information.

  • Frank

    SpaceX uses government facilities like Cape Canaveral and is the recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars of government subsidies, without which there probably wouldn’t be a Falcon 9. They owe it to the American taxpayers to be more open about what they’re doing!

  • Bart Enkelaar

    I don’t think it’s so much a case of deliberately being hush-hush. As they move towards more standard industrialized launches, there’s simply not that much to announce. They’ll use the same rocket, with the same trajectory, to put a geostationary satellite into orbit. Standard stuff, so no fanfare.

    I think this is a really good thing, fanfare is nice and all, but industry gets things done. The fact that this launch is “business as usual” for them, is doubly awesome.

  • DocM

    NSF Level 2 mentioned the general cause which I won’t repeat out of school, but it did not sound like a *really*big*deal*.

  • DocM

    No, but if CRS-3 goes up on time I’m leaning towards at least 8.

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