SpaceX launch postponed…again

SpaceX scrapped a planned rocket launch Sunday for the third time in five days, this time after a rogue boat wandered into the area.

“Launch team has called a scrub for the day; vehicle and spacecraft are healthy,” the company tweeted Sunday.

SpaceX, created by Tesla’s Elon Musk with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets, intended to launch a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida to send a communications satellite into orbit. Things appeared to be going well — the rocket even lit its engines — but the engines were cut about a second before liftoff, USA Today reported. A new launch date was not immediately scheduled.

The launch initially was delayed because a boat needed to be cleared out of the rocket’s flight path. Because the rocket sat on the launch pad more than half an hour longer than expected, the rocket’s liquid oxygen supply, which needs to be kept near freezing, grew too warm, USA Today reported.

“Rising oxygen temps due to hold for boat and helium bubble triggered alarm,” Musk tweeted.

The SpaceX team also had trouble keeping the liquid oxygen chilled during prior launches aborted Wednesday and Thursday, USA Today reported.

Musk’s vision for SpaceX is to reduce the cost of space travel by building reusable rockets. Traditional rockets burn up when they reenter Earth’s atmosphere, but SpaceX rockets are designed to withstand reentry and land safely on the launch pad or an ocean landing site.

SpaceX had said it would attempt such a landing in its latest launch, bringing part of the Falcon 9 back down on a ship. But “given this mission’s unique [Geostationary Transfer Orbit] profile, a successful landing is not expected,” the company wrote in a mission overview posted online.

SpaceX has almost pulled off its targeted landing three times before, according to A January attempt would have been successful but one of the rocket component’s legs malfunctioned, causing the booster to fall and explode on the ship’s deck.

Photo: Thales Falcon 9 Launch, May 2015. (SpaceX)


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  • IM_Boss_Hogg

    If the sea state is 0… No waves in the ocean, then there might be a good chance to recover the 1st stage on the barge and avoid the previous fireworks.