Monday, February 29, 2016

SpaceX Launch Aborted After Engine Ignition, Stray Boat To Blame

SpaceX's SES-9 launch was aborted less than a second after the Falcon 9 Merlin engines were ignited on Sunday.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida - SpaceX's rocket launch on Sunday was aborted less than a second after Falcon 9's engines were fired above Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida - and a stray boat into the restricted zone could be to blame.

Although the 90-minute launch window opened at 6:46 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and SpaceX engineers were running through their final checklists for a launch attempt at the window's opening, the U.S. Air Force placed a range safety hold on the launch after a boat was detected in the restricted zone.



SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that the launch delay by over 30 minutes allowed the super-cooled liquid oxygen to warm up while the Falcon 9 sat on the pad waiting for the all clear.

"@SpaceX Launch aborted on low thrust alarm. Rising oxygen temps due to hold for boat and helium bubble triggered alarm," Musk tweeted.

Sunday was the third time that SpaceX's SES-9 launch had been scrubbed. SpaceX has not announced a new launch date and time, but indicated to members of the media that the launch would not take place on Monday.


SpaceX to attempt landing on drone ship

If all goes as planned, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will deliver a communications satellite to a Geostationary Transfer Orbit. 

Following stage separation, the first stage of the Falcon 9 will attempt an experimental landing on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship.  But SpaceX does not expect a successful landing after launch. That's because the Geo Stationary Transfer Orbit requires the first stage rocket to reach a significantly higher altitude than previous missions. This means that Falcon 9's first stage rocket will becoming down faster with less fuel to slow its descent than prior landing attempts.

Payload

SES-9 is the largest satellite dedicated to serving the Asia-Pacific region for SES, a commercial satellite communications company. The SES-9 will provide expansion and replacement capacity to serve the video, enterprise, mobility and government sectors across northeast Asia, south Asia and Indonesia. The additional capacity on SES-9 will also enable direct-to-home operators to broadcast more local content and increase their SD and HDTV channel line-up to 22 million households across Asia-Pacific, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

The satellite’s Indian Ocean and South East Asian coverage can also provide seamless in-flight connectivity for domestic Asian flights operating in countries like Indonesia and the Philippines.

Photo credit: SpaceX / YouTube video still.