Update for December 12th: This story has been updated to reflect the US Space Force’s latest target launch date of Wednesday, December 13.
We’ll have to wait until Wednesday (December 13) to see SpaceX’s powerful Falcon Heavy rocket take to the skies again.
The powerful Falcon Heavy spacecraft was scheduled to launch the US Space Force’s X-37B robotic spaceplane from Florida on Monday evening (December 11), a launch known as USSF-52. But about 30 minutes before the scheduled liftoff at 8:24 PM EDT (0124 GMT), SpaceX announced the flight was cancelled.
“Falcon Heavy launch halted tonight due to groundside issue; vehicle and payload remain in good condition. Team is resetting for the USSF-52 mission’s next launch opportunity, which is not until tomorrow night,” SpaceX Written via X (formerly known as Twitter).
When USSF-52 lifts off, you can watch it here on Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX. The new launch target is 8:13 PM EST on Wednesday, December 13 (0113 GMT Thursday, December 14).
Related: The Space Force’s secret X-37B spaceplane: 10 surprising facts
USSF-52 will be the seventh launch of the 29-foot-long (8.8-meter) reusable X-37B, which military officials say is primarily a testbed for new tools and other technologies. Most 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, which landed in November 2022 after 908 days in orbit, blasted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 vehicle.
USSF-52 will be the first X-37B mission to fly aboard the Falcon Heavy, which could take the spaceplane to a higher level than it has reached before. This may actually happen; Space Force officials said the goals of the upcoming mission “include working in new orbital systems, experimenting with space domain awareness techniques, and investigating radiation effects on NASA materials.” he wrote in a statement last month.
The statement added that NASA’s radiation experiment will expose plant seeds to the harsh space environment.
The Falcon Heavy debuted in February 2018, in a long-awaited test flight that sent SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk’s red Tesla Roadster into orbit around the sun.
The heavy crane has flown eight times so far, including four times already this year. The last time the rocket flew was in October of this year, when NASA’s Psyche asteroid probe launched.
The X-37B Falcon Heavy was originally supposed to launch on Sunday (December 10), but SpaceX postponed the launch by one day due to weather concerns.
This story was updated at 12:15 PM EST on December 12 with the new launch window.
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