Launch of SpaceX rocket with US weather satellite delayed

Launch of a SpaceX rocket with a US weather satellite bound for deep space was postponed minutes before lift-off on Sunday because of a technical failure and is now targeted for Monday, according to officials. 

The Falcon 9 Rocket is set to deploy the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) into space from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to keep a record of solar storms from nearly 1.5 million kilometres away – more than four times further than the moon.

A glitch cropped up with an Air Force radar system that needed to track the rocket in flight, which rescheduled the launch for 23:07 GMT on Monday.

"Today’s launch of the DSCOVR mission is scrubbed due to loss of the Air Force’s Eastern Range radar, which is required for launch,” said the company on its website.

This mission to launch the DSCOVR satellite is a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Nasa and the US Air Force, in order to observe and provide advance warning of extreme emissions from the sun which can affect power grids, communications systems, and satellites close to Earth.

DSCOVR replaces a 17-year-old satellite monitoring for potentially dangerous solar storms. Tsunamis of charged particles from the sun, called coronal mass ejections, can disrupt GPS and other satellite signals, block radio communications and impact electric power grids on Earth, Tom Berger, director at NOAA, said at a pre-launch news conference on Saturday.

The satellite also will take pictures of Earth that will be posted on the Internet every 24 hours.

DSCOVR will weigh approximately 570kg and is equipped with two deployable solar arrays, a propulsion module, boom, and high gain antenna.

SpaceX is expected to reach its final orbit 110 days after launch.

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