SpaceX postpones 'secretive' US military launch for 24 hours

 Due to a sensor issue, SpaceX on Sunday has postponed the launch of a secretive US governmnent payload untill Monday.

By Zee Media Bureau | Updated: Apr 30, 2017, 18:23 PM IST
SpaceX postpones 'secretive' US military launch for 24 hours
Representational image

New Delhi: Due to a sensor issue, SpaceX on Sunday has postponed the launch of a secretive US governmnent payload untill Monday.

"Out of an abundance of caution we have decided to scrub today`s launch," a SpaceX spokesman said, describing the issue as relating to the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket.

Another opportunity for launch opens Monday at 7:00 am (1100 GMT).

The payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, which makes and operates spy satellites for the United States, will be the first military launch for the California-based aerospace company headed by billionaire tycoon Elon Musk.

"As a matter of policy and because of classification, NRO does not provide information about our contracts," a spokeswoman told AFP.

Until now, the US military has spent billions per year exclusively with United Launch Alliance, a joint operation of aerospace giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin, to launch government satellites.

SpaceX in 2014 protested the US Air Force`s practice of using only ULA, saying it unfairly awarded billions of dollars to a single company for national security launches.

SpaceX was selected to launch NROL-76 "after a competition," said the NRO spokeswoman.

She said she did not know when the contract was awarded. It was first announced last year.

(With Agency inputs)