Update for December 12th: This story has been updated to reflect the US Space Force’s current target launch date of Wednesday, December 13.
We’ll have to wait until Wednesday (Dec. 13) to see SpaceX’s powerful Falcon Heavy rocket take off again.
The US Space Force’s robotic X-37B space plane, known as USSF-52, is scheduled to launch Monday night (Dec. 11) from Florida. But about 30 minutes before the scheduled 8:24 pm EST (0124 GMT) liftoff time, SpaceX announced a scrub.
“Falcon Heavy is grounded from launch tonight due to a ground-side issue; vehicle and payload are healthy. The crew is resetting for the next launch opportunity of the USSF-52 mission, which is no earlier than tomorrow night,” SpaceX said. Wrote via X (formerly known as Twitter).
When USSF-52 takes off, you can watch it on Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX. The new launch target is Wednesday, December 13 (0113 GMT Thursday, December 14) at 8:13 pm EST.
Related: Space Force’s Secret X-37B Space Plane: 10 Surprising Facts
USSF-52 will be the seventh launch for the reusable, 29-foot-long (8.8 meter) X-37B, which military officials say is primarily a testing ground for new equipment and other technologies. Most of the payloads and other details about the X-37B missions are classified.
The first five X-37B missions were launched on United Launch Alliance Atlas V rockets. The most recent one, which landed in November 2022 after 908 days in orbit, was lifted atop the SpaceX Falcon 9.
USSF-52 will be the first X-37B mission to ride atop a Falcon Heavy, which will take the spaceflight higher than ever before. It may actually happen; The goals of the upcoming mission “include operating in new orbital regimes, testing space field awareness technologies and investigating radiation effects for NASA objects,” according to Space Force officials. wrote in a publication last month.
NASA’s radiation experiment will expose plant seeds to the harsh environment of space, the release added.
The Falcon Heavy debuted in February 2018 on a much-anticipated test flight that sent SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk’s red Tesla Roadster into solar orbit.
The heavy lifter has flown eight times to date, including four times already this year. The rocket last flew in October this year when it launched NASA’s Psych asteroid probe.
The launch of the X-37B Falcon Heavy was originally scheduled for Sunday (Dec. 10), but SpaceX pushed back the liftoff by a day due to weather concerns.
This story was updated at 12:15 pm EDT December 12 with a new release window.