SpaceX will attempt its fifth rocket launch of 2016 on Friday (27 May) after postponing an initial launch on Thursday (26 May) due to a "tiny glitch in the motion of an upper stage engine actuator," SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted. Using its Falcon 9 rocket, SpaceX will be sending commercial communications satellite THAICOM8 into the geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), 38,500km (20,000m) above the earth, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Once the Falcon 9 is deployed, the rocket's 14-story first stage — comprising of the rocket's engines and main fuel tank — will separate and return back to Earth. This rocket landing will be one of the company's most complicated landings yet, as the rocket "will be subject to extreme velocities and re-entry heating," according to the company.
As with previous rocket launches, SpaceX will attempt to land the stage on an autonomous drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean, The Verge reported. SpaceX successfully carried out two drone ship landings this year, as well as a successful landing on solid ground in December. The company will attempt a second ground landing in July.
The company's most recent mission on 6 May — a GTO satellite delivery of Japanese communications satellite JCSAT-14 — was able to successfully stick the landing. According to The Verge, Musk has his company attempting these landings in order to make SpaceX's rockets reusable, which would drastically reduce the cost of going to space. Although the company has yet to relaunch any of the landed rockets, it hopes to do so at some point over the summer.
Update Friday 27 May: This article has been updated to reflect the new launch date for the SpaceX Falcon 9.