SpaceX Launch Scrubbed As Cruise Ship Enters Hazard Area with 30 Seconds to Liftoff

SpaceX Launch Scrubbed As Cruise Ship Enters Hazard Area with 30 Seconds to Liftoff

SpaceX has been attempting to launch an Italian surveillance satellite for several days, but has hampered by bad weather. Now, it has postponed once more due to an unexpected guest who arrived too close to the launch date. The Falcon 9 rocket had to stop on January 30 when it had only 33 seconds to launch. The hazard zone had been crossed a cruise liner. A member of the mission control team can be heard saying “hold, hold, hold” on the live stream of the launch. “With a ship in the hazard region, we have a red range for a fouled range.” The launch had to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances.

Ships notified ahead of time about launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida, so it is unclear how the ship — believed to be Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas, according to local sources — ended itself in the hazard zone. The local Coast Guard is investigating the event.

The launch has rescheduled for January 31 at 6:11 p.m. EST, with no further delays expected. The satellite slated to launch as part of a four-satellite constellation that will offer imagery for defense, seismic hazard analysis, environmental disaster monitoring, and agricultural mapping over the Mediterranean.

While weather forced SpaceX to postpone its effort to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station for three days, a cruise ship down range canceled the launch on Sunday. Today, the corporation will attempt again, with a second Falcon 9 launch set for Tuesday. The weather was looking good on Sunday, but as the live feed got underway ahead of the 6:11 p.m. scheduled liftoff, SpaceX commentator Jesse Anderson reported a cruise ship was entering a no-go zone and the US Coast Guard was in contact with it. 

There were two ships in the area that could have been the cause of the scrub. According to cruisemapper.com, Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas was at sea off the Coast of Brevard County ahead of the launch after departing Port Canaveral on Sunday afternoon, while MSC Meraviglia was visible in the port channel.

With less than a minute to go before the scheduled liftoff, mission officials shouted, “Hold! Hold! Hold!” and the launch canceled. The business will now attempt a liftoff at 6:11 p.m. today. The US Space Force has endeavored to raise awareness about the multiple southerly trajectory rocket launches from the Space Coast this month, which will result in increased hazard areas for both watercraft and aviation.

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