It is no longer news that SpaceX’s attempts to land its Falcon 9 rockets on a floating platform on the Pacific ocean had flopped a number of times, with one of them exploding on touchdown. The company is attempting to blast off another rocket to space on Sunday at 6:20 p.m., but the launch was called off nearly three minutes to takeoff when the engineers detected a malfunctioning tracking radar that would track the launch into orbit; however, a new date has been set for another launch, and that is Monday at 6:07 p.m.
But there is mounting tension again, because the company is aiming to land the spacecraft aboard a floating platform once again, even though the three last attempts had been a total failure with huge loss of assets.
This launch could have taken off last year, but NASA due to some logistic problems postponed the scheduled launch of its Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) mission until now, just after the space agency announced it needed more time to load necessities following the Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket explosion. However, NASA also added that a technical problem that occurred during a test firing of the Falcon 9 equally led to its being stalled for takeoff.
The DSCOVR is a team project between NASA, the Air Force, and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the team has installed a solar wind monitoring capability that works in real time – providing crucial weather forecasting services.
Since solar storms disrupt and damage communication grids and electricity installations on Earth, the DISCOVR satellite will also help transmit warning signals not later than one hour before solar storms occur on Earth. This weather forecasting capability will also help people understand how to tackle the concentrations of carbon-dioxides since it has been found to contribute to global warming among other things.
“One of our main questions about the solar wind is based on the fact that it cools down as it moves toward Earth but not as fast as we’d expect,” said NASA’s DSCOVR project boffin Adam Szabo. “There must be some heating mechanism that slows down the cooling. The solar wind instruments on DSCOVR will help us determine what’s providing that extra heat.”