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SpaceX delays launch to lift odds for landing

Image: Falcon rocket on pad
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket stands on its Florida launch pad. (Credit: Orbcomm)

SpaceX has delayed the launch of its Falcon 9 rocket with 11 Orbcomm telecommunication satellites for a day, to wait for a better chance to land the rocket’s first-stage booster after liftoff.

The commercial rocket company’s billionaire founder, Elon Musk, said the decision to put off Sunday’s scheduled launch attempt was made after a review of the mission parameters. In a tweet, he said an analysis of probabilistic Monte Carlo simulations showed there was a “10 percent higher chance of a good landing” on Monday night.

As a result, the countdown was delayed 24 hours. Liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida is now scheduled for 8:33 p.m. ET (5:33 p.m. PT) Monday. Forecasters said there was an 80 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for launch.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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