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Jan. 8, 2017, 4:24 p.m. EST

California storm delays SpaceX rocket launch

Blastoff will be Falcon 9’s first since September explosion

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By Andy Pasztor


AFP/Getty Images
Space X's Falcon 9 rocket as it lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 2015.

Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. has delayed a planned return to flight for another week owing to bad weather and predictions of continuing storms around a central California launch complex.

The latest schedule calls for blastoff of a Falcon 9 rocket, carrying 10 satellites for Iridium Communications Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208839949/composite IRDM -2.73%  , from Vandenberg Air Force Base next Saturday morning. The backup date is the following day.

Click to Play

SpaceX's September Launchpad Explosion: Why It Happened

SpaceX has identified the likely variables that led to the launchpad explosion of its Falcon 9 rocket back in September. In the next week, the company is expected to attempt its first launch since that accident took place. Photo: U.S. Launch Report

The launch is intended to resume Falcon 9 flights following a nearly five-month hiatus, stemming from a September explosion during routine ground testing that wrecked a booster, damaged a launchpad and destroyed a $200 million commercial telecommunications satellite.

Next weekend’s flight is believed to be carrying the heaviest combined payload lofted into space by Southern California-based SpaceX, as the company is called. Closely held SpaceX is aiming to use the opportunity to reassure commercial and U.S. government customers about the reliability of its rocket fleet.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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