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SpaceX delays launch of 13 satellites for US Space Force


SpaceX will launch a set of military satellites this Friday (Sept. 1) after a one-day delay, and you can watch the action live.


A Falcon 9 rocket topped with 13 spacecraft for the U.S. Space Force's Space Development Agency (SDA) is scheduled to lift off from California's Vandenberg Space Force Base Friday at 10:26 a.m. EDT (1426 GMT; 7:26 a.m. local California time).


You can watch it live here at Space.com when the time comes, courtesy of SpaceX, or directly via the company. Coverage is expected to begin 15 minutes before liftoff. SpaceX initially attempted to launch the Tranche 0 mission on Aug. 31, but postponed it due an undisclosed reason.


Friday's launch will be SpaceX's second in support of the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA), "a new layered network of satellites in low Earth orbit and supporting elements that will provide global military communication and missile warning, indication and tracking capabilities," SpaceX wrote in a description of the mission.


The first PWSA mission occurred in early April, when a Falcon 9 lofted 10 satellites from Vandenberg.


These first two missions are dedicated to building out "Tranche 0," a demonstration constellation that will consist of 28 satellites, according to SpaceNews. Most of them are communications craft, but some are designed to detect missiles.


As its name suggests, Tranche 0 is just the beginning for the PWSA.

"Under the plan, the Space Force will have hundreds of small satellites, with new ones launched every few years to increase resilience and capabilities in orbit," Air and Space Forces Magazine wrote in late March.


If all goes according to plan, the Falcon 9's first stage will come back for a touchdown at Vandenberg about 7.5 minutes after launch today. It will be the 14th launch and landing for this particular booster, according to the SpaceX mission description.


It's unclear when the satellites will be deployed; SpaceX did not provide any information about that milestone. That's no surprise; details are often scarce on national security missions.


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