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SpaceX scrubs launch of Italian satellite from Florida, will try again Friday

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SpaceX scrubs launch of Italian satellite from Florida, will try again Friday
An illustration depicts the COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation 2 satellite in orbit. Photo courtesy of Thales Alenia Space

ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 27 (UPI) -- SpaceX on Thursday scrubbed its planned launch of an Italian Earth-observation satellite, the COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation 2 and said it plans to try again Friday.

"Due to unfavorable weather, now targeting Friday, January 28 at 6:11 p.m. EST for launch of COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation FM2," the company tweeted.

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SpaceX plans to launch the satellite aboard the Falcon 9 rocket from Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

"The new launch ensures complete operative continuity of the entire COSMO-SkyMed constellation, which has been in orbit for more than 15 years," Italian space services company Telespazio, based in Rome, said of the mission.

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The Italian Space Agency has financed the mission and plans to control the spacecraft from the country's Fucino Space Center about 80 miles east of Rome.

When it does launch, the first-stage booster is expected to land at Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral.

The COSMO-SkyMed satellite constellation, built by France-based Thales Alenia Space, provides high-resolution images of the Earth's surface.

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The images are used to map topographical features and resources, provide defense and security intelligence, track shipping and to monitor disasters, forests and agriculture.

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The second generation of the satellites will "progressively replace the first generation system currently in orbit, improving its performance" and eventually allowing the retirement of the first generation of COSMO-SkyMed spacecraft, according to Telespazio.

SpaceX said Sunday on Twitter that a static fire test of the rocket for the mission was successful, but the company hadn't posted further updates as of Wednesday evening.

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The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches NASA's third crew to the International Space Station at 9:03 p.m. November 10 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo

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