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Starlink satellites grounded as SpaceX launch delayed

Starlink radar app in focus with Starlink logo in background
(Image credit: Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Starlink was to see 60 new satellites go into orbit Sunday night (Feb. 28), but SpaceX had to cancel the launch 90 seconds prior to liftoff. The exact reason for the aborted launch was not made clear, but could be due to weather or other technical reasons.

SpaceX will attempt to launch Starlink v1.0 L17 mission again Tuesday night from Cape Canaveral at 7:53 p.m. ET.

The Falcon 9 rocket was on Pad 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida when the system experienced an automatic abort. 

"Overall, the vehicle and payload are healthy and remain in good health," said
Andy Tran, a SpaceX production supervisor, during a live launch commentary. A full video, with commentary, leading up to the launch can be found below. At the 16:33 mark is when the launch was automatically aborted.  

The Starlink v1.0 L17 mission was first slated to go up in mid-February, but was delayed (opens in new tab) due to hardware issues and poor weather. Because of the cancelled launches, this has put SpaceX's Starlink launches out of order, with L18 (opens in new tab) and L19 (opens in new tab) already lifting off successfully. 

If mission L17 does go off without a hitch, it would make it Starlink's sixth launch of 2021. And the satellite internet constellation could use every successful launch it can get. At the moment, Elon Musk plans to have 12,000 satellites (opens in new tab) in orbit for the network to be at full tilt. At the moment, it only has 1,000 in low-Earth orbit (LEO). Each new wave of satellites brings greater coverage to more people. That's why Starlink is currently sending out kits to people who live in Northern latitudes. 

To watch Starlink v1.0 L17's latest launch attempt, you can head over to SpaceX's YouTube channel (opens in new tab) or the official website (opens in new tab)

Imad is currently Senior Google and Internet Culture reporter for CNET, but until recently was News Editor at Tom's Guide. Hailing from Texas, Imad started his journalism career in 2013 and has amassed bylines with the New York Times, the Washington Post, ESPN, Wired and Men's Health Magazine, among others. Outside of work, you can find him sitting blankly in front of a Word document trying desperately to write the first pages of a new book.