Spacex is finalizing the investigation into our September 1 anomaly and are working to complete the final steps necessary to safely and reliably return to flight, now in early January with the launch of Iridium-1. This allows for additional time to close-out vehicle preparations and complete extended testing to help ensure the highest possible level of mission assurance prior to launch.
“This allows for additional time to close-out vehicle preparations and complete extended testing to help ensure the highest possible level of mission assurance prior to launch,” wrote the company in an online update Tuesday, referencing the potential January launch of an initial 10 of 72 satellites for its customer, telecommunications company Iridium Communications. SpaceX’s satellite launch contract with Iridium, worth $492 million, was the largest commercial space deal ever at the time of signing in 2010, according to Space.com.
This delays ten commercial satellite deliveries SpaceX was on the hook to launch for customers by the end of this year, as Mr. Quilty reported in SpaceNews. Additionally, a November supply delivery to the International Space Station (ISS) under a contract SpaceX signed with NASA also had to be scrapped. (There are other companies and international space agencies that can deliver supplies to the ISS.)
The delays have caused Spacex today to lose one launch order to French competitor Arianespace.
There’s an acceptance that SpaceX brought significant changes to the industry and that at some point SpaceX will probably succeed, but the question is when?