The Space X has kept in hold the launch of two earth observation satellites from NASA. The scheduled launch for the satellites and five Iridium communication satellites were supposed to be launched on May 19. But now they have been rescheduled to be launched on May 22.
The satellites are to be launched from a Space X Falcon 9 rocket. The entire rocket with the satellites would be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base situated in California. The officials of Iridium had hinted earlier on May 14 that the launching might be delayed for two days. They cited the reason as minor processing issue for the delay. On May 15, that is yesterday the officials from Iridium said that the launch would be delayed by one more day due to range issues at Vandenberg.
The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow- On known as the GRACE-FO mission of NASA basically will succeed the GRACE mission whose purpose was to characterize the gravitational field of earth from its orbit. The GRACE mission did so from 2002 till 2017.
There will be two similar looking spacecraft which will constitute the GRACE-FO. These two satellites will provide the necessary measurements. Along with those measurements and related data, it will be possible to monitor the movement of water masses and changes of earth’s mass within itself. Officials from NASA said that the climate of the earth and its impact on earth could be assessed by monitoring the unique changes in the water bodies and ice sheets of the earth.
This mission is supposed to last for five years. The NASA, as well as the German Research Center for Geosciences, is jointly venturing for this mission. Space X has a long-term relationship with Iridium. The Falcon 9 rockets from Space X have already launched 50 satellites for Iridium and are going to launch another 75 of them in the coming days.
The lift-off on Tuesday will be the second one from the first stage of Falcon 9. Till date, there have been 25 launches of the first stages of Falcon 9. They have also re-flown the boosters 11 times. It is expected that the booster would not be landed again on Tuesday. The company CEO Elon Musk said that the new and upgraded Block 5 Falcon 9 vehicle is supposed to be better than the previous one.