Is SpaceX really the only launch service provider, who can attempt another launch the very next day after a scrub? While other providers may need weeks of preparations before another try.

If that is the case, why is it so? Because of SpaceX's better technology, management...?

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    $\begingroup$ "scrub" is very broad. Postponing 3 hours before liftoff due to weather and resetting an abort after engine startup are very different events. As asked, I think most providers have launched the day after a scrub. $\endgroup$
    – BowlOfRed
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 18:01
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    $\begingroup$ For weather or range induced scrubs, I have seen many launches occur the next day. So this question has no basis. $\endgroup$
    – Mark Adler
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 19:30
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    $\begingroup$ @MarkAdler The question certainly has the basis of its asker not being you, and therefore not knowing what you know. That's the whole point of asking a question, by the way. $\endgroup$
    – TylerH
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 22:34
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    $\begingroup$ If the question was simply: "How soon after a scrub can launch providers try to launch again?", then sure, fine question that not everyone knows the answer to. However the question was written with the presumption, whose origin is a complete mystery, that only SpaceX can launch the next day. With the token condition "If that is the case". I apologize that I get tired of questions like this full of disparaging implications based on false premises fabricated out of thin air. $\endgroup$
    – Mark Adler
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 4:16

4 Answers 4


This mainly depends on the cause of the scrub, it seems. I went back through Ariane 5 launches. When a scrub was caused by a technical problem, it'd take several days or weeks to make another attempt. The vehicle has to be drained of fuel, rolled back to the assembly building, failure analysis etc.
When the cause is external (weather, nimrods driving their boat into the exclusion zone), Arianespace has done launches on the next day.

And why the next day? For many orbits, there's only one time of day when that orbit is above the launch site and reachable. So for any launch where the scrub and retry would put you outside of the launch window, you have to wait 24h to try again.

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    $\begingroup$ That makes plenty of sense, that whether its a big deal is according to the cause of the delay. To further your thesis: here's a two day delay for a Zenit (Sea Launch) launch fifteen years ago: spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=1318. $\endgroup$
    – Puffin
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 18:54

SpaceX being one of the few launch providers doing hot fire testing before launches means they have to be able to quickly fuel and defuel their vehicles as needed. If it takes a week to recover from a fuel/defuel cycle before the next launch attempt it is hard to do a hot fire test 2-3 days before hand.

So whether this was a design consideration from the outset or one that became clear later, it does seem to be baked into their design. Likely the reuse goal overall influenced it as well.


No, it is not. At the very least, the Space Shuttle has had its launch aborted at 20 minutes prior to launch, and attempted to launch the next day. See this Space.com article. As mentioned, it really depends on the cause of the scrub. If the scrub is weather, or range, related, it's very common to try the next day. If the scrub is technical, it could be something that is very quick to replace (Which SpaceX is far more likely than most to try), or it could be something that takes longer.

So, we know that the following have attempted the next day, for weather issues:


No, there is an(other) example: ESA satellite GOCE (Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer) was launched one day after an aborted attempt (see Wikipedia, revision id=701703277):

The first launch attempt on 16 March 2009 was aborted due to a malfunction with the launch tower. Liftoff occurred successfully at 14:21 GMT on 17 March 2009.

Bottom line: Eurockot can do it, too.


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