SpaceX scrubs Italian satellite launch third day in row


Jan. 29 (UPI) -- SpaceX scrubbed its launch of an Italian Earth-observation satellite, the COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation 2, for the third day in a row Saturday.

"Due to weather in Florida affecting pre-launch operations, now targeting Sunday, January 30 at 6:11 p.m. EST for launch of COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation FM2 from SLC-40," the aerospace company tweeted.

It's the third day in a row SpaceX has scratched the satellite launch after days of delays due to poor weather conditions.

SpaceX said a separate Starlink launch -- which was originally scheduled for Saturday and pushed back to Sunday -- will now take place Monday.

The Italian satellite will ensure "complete operative continuity of the entire COSMO-SkyMed constellation, which has been in orbit for more than 15 years," Italian space services company Telespazio, based in Rome, said of the mission.

The Italian Space Agency has financed the mission and plans to control the spacecraft from the country's Fucino Space Center about 80 miles east of Rome.

When it does launch, the first-stage booster is expected to land at Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral.

The COSMO-SkyMed satellite constellation, built by France-based Thales Alenia Space, provides high-resolution images of the Earth's surface.

The images are used to map topographical features and resources, provide defense and security intelligence, track shipping and to monitor disasters, forests and agriculture.

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