SpaceX defers launch of Israeli AMOS-17 satellite after spotting a fault in Falcon 9

The Falcon 9 is now scheduled to carry the advanced communication satellite to orbit on 6 August.

SpaceX has delayed the launch of its Falcon 9 rocket that was supposed to carry the Israeli communication satellite AMOS-17 on 3 August. They tweeted out that they are working towards launching the satellite on 6 August.

The reason for the delay was a valve issue that they found during a static fire test on 1 August.

A static fire test is a standard test SpaceX conducts before all their launches. The first stage of the rocket is held down and its engines are briefly fired to check on the booster systems and to see if everything is working a-ok.

Space Falcon 9 booster seconds before touchdown. Image credit: SpaceX

Space Falcon 9 booster seconds before touchdown. Image credit: SpaceX

After the first test, engineers conducted a second static fire test on 3 August after changing the valve. The booster that will be used in the mission has been reused in two previous missions — the first in a July 2018 launch of the Telstar 19 VANTAGE satellite, and then again in November 2018, when the booster deposited Qatar's Es'hail 2 communications satellite into orbit.

The advanced communications satellite belongs to Spacecom, an Israeli company. It is a heavy satellite, and so, the boosters will need all its fuel to put it into orbit but won't have enough to navigate its way back onto the launchpad. What will be a thrice-used Falcon 9 booster will end its career by splashing down in the ocean after the planned launch.

The launch of AMOS-17 from Space Launch Complex-40 follows after another launch of SpaceX's Dragon CRS-18 cargo mission for NASA from the same launchpad on 25 July.

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