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SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch delayed by high winds

Launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a powerful EchoStar communications satellite was scrubbed early Tuesday because of high winds associated with stormy weather across central Florida.

SpaceX had hoped to launch the rocket at 1:34 a.m. EDT (GMT-4) Tuesday, the opening of a two-and-a-half-hour window. But the countdown was halted 39 minutes before launch when it became apparent the weather was not cooperating.

A new launch date was not immediately announced, but the company said earlier the next available window would open at 1:35 a.m. Thursday. Forecasters predict a 90 percent chance of acceptable weather.

This will be the California rocket builder’s third launch of a Falcon 9 since a spectacular explosion Sept. 1 at the nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station that destroyed another booster and its $200 million satellite payload.

SpaceX returned to flight Jan. 14, successfully launching 10 Iridium NEXT satellite telephone relay stations from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The company then launched a space station cargo ship from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on Feb. 19. SpaceX hopes to make it three in a row with the EchoStar launch.

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