Series of SpaceX and ULA launch scrubs saddens skywatchers

Launches from Florida have been delayed several times, leading to widespread frustration that "Scrubtember" has turned into "Scrubtober."

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
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Eric Mack
2 min read

This rocket carrying a GPS satellite for the US Space Force is still waiting to launch. 


A September full of suffering for space fans now seems to be bleeding over into October as a long series of launch delays continues with Monday's scrub of a planned SpaceX Starlink mission

This marks the fifth time the launch has been pushed back in the past three weeks, and it comes just three days after SpaceX had to stand down once again from launching a GPS satellite for the US Space Force on Friday. That mission has also been postponed now a total of four times in the past week. 

The delays aren't only affecting SpaceX. A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket was set to lift a new US spy satellite into orbit Aug. 27 and has been delayed no less than six times since, most recently on Sept. 30. 

The postponements have happened for a variety of reasons. Several have been tied to poor weather conditions near Cape Canaveral in Florida, but there have also been issues with launch pad equipment, sensors and mechanical matters that have caused scrubs. 

Each delay is a schedule-wrecker not only for the companies and crew directly involved in the missions, but for a bevy of space enthusiasts, (ahem) journalists and other observers who are hankering for a blast-off. "My hobby of watching rocket launches is turning into a hobby of watching rockets sit on the pad while people say "Abort Abort Abort," one tweeted

Increasingly, many of them have taken to Twitter to vent their frustrations, even giving birth to a new hashtag: #Scrubtober (previously known as #Scrubtember).

The scrub-pocalypse has unsurprisingly caught the attention of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who said Friday that he plans to visit Cape Canaveral in person to do a review of the hardware and "regulatory constraints," among other things. In other words, the boss clearly isn't happy with Scrubtober, either. 

Sooner or later these rockets will get off the ground and Scrubtober will end. Hopefully without turning into Scrubvember. 

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