SpaceX Falcon 9 launch called off a second time
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket remained firmly on the ground Thursday, Feb. 25, due to an issue with the loading of the cryogenic liquid oxygen into the booster, according to the company’s webcast. The hold was called at T-minus one minute, 41 seconds before the scheduled launch time of 6:46 p.m. EST (23:46 GMT).
The was the company’s second attempt to launch the SES-9 satellite. The first was scrubbed yesterday, Feb. 24, about 30 minutes prior to liftoff due to an issue with the temperature of the fuel before loading.
SpaceX has not said when the next launch attempt will occur and tweeted “teams are reviewing the data and next available launch date.”
This version of the Falcon 9, dubbed “Full Thrust”, utilizes liquid oxygen and rocket grade kerosene (RP-1) that are chilled nearly to their freezing points, densifying them. This allows for more fuel to fit inside the rocket’s tanks, increasing its performance—something needed to both send a payload to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) and recover first stage boosters downrange.
When it does take to the skies, the Full Thrust Falcon 9 will lift the SES-9 satellite to GTO, upon reaching its destination, SES-9 will be the largest satellite supporting the Asia-Pacific region. The spacecraft has some 81 high-powered Ku-band transponder equivalents, which will be used to provide high-speed broadband, television, and other services to an array of customers in more than 20 countries.
The launch of SES-9 will be the second so far on SpaceX’s 2016 manifest. Once the mission is complete, the Hawthorne, California-based company still has 13 additional launches planned for the remainder of this year (according to SpaceFlight Now).
Derek Richardson is a student studying mass media with an emphasis in contemporary journalism at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. He is currently the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also writes a blog, called Orbital Velocity, about the space station. His passion for space ignited when he watched space shuttle Discovery leap to space on Oct. 29, 1998. He saw his first in-person launch on July 8, 2011 when the space shuttle launched for the final time. Today, this fervor has accelerated toward orbit and shows no signs of slowing down. After dabbling in math and engineering courses in college, he soon realized that his true calling was communicating to others about space exploration and spreading that passion.