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Weather delays resumption of SpaceX's rocket launches

WASHINGTON, Jan 9, 2017 (BSS/AFP) - Bad weather has postponed SpaceX's plan to resume flights of its Falcon 9 rocket until at least January 14, the California-based private space firm said Sunday.

SpaceX had planned a launch on Monday of 10 Iridium NEXT communications satellites from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

"Launch moving due to high winds and rains at Vandenberg. Other range conflicts this week results in next available launch date being January 14th," SpaceX said on Twitter.

An unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded September 1 in Cape Canaveral, destroying a satellite that Facebook planned to use to beam high-speed internet to Africa.

That marked a setback for the company and its founder Elon Musk, who wants to revolutionize the launch industry by making rocket components reusable.

That accident -- the second of its kind since SpaceX was founded in 2002 -- came just over a year after a Falcon 9 rocket failed after liftoff on June 28, 2015, destroying a Dragon cargo capsule bound for the International Space Station.

Before that, SpaceX had logged 18 successful launches of the Falcon 9 -- including six of 12 planned supply missions to the ISS carried out as part of a $1.6 billion contract with NASA.

SpaceX had hoped to resume Falcon 9 flights as early as November, then in mid-December, before pushing the date to January.