Spaceflight Insider

Legless Falcon 9 automatically aborts launch at T-10 seconds

A Legless Falcon 9 waits for liftoff. The onboard computer aborted the July 2, 2017, launch attempt due to a GNC issue. Photo Credit: Michael Howard / SpaceFlight Insider

A legless Falcon 9 waits for liftoff. The onboard computer aborted the July 2, 2017, launch attempt due to a GNC issue. Photo Credit: Michael Howard / SpaceFlight Insider

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Within 10 seconds from leaving the pad at Launch Complex 39A, the Falcon 9’s onboard computer triggered an automatic abort. While this was a 58-minute window, it was decided there would not be enough time to diagnose the abort and recycle the countdown.

SpaceX lead Falcon 9 engineer John Insprucker reported via the company’s webcast that it appeared to be an out of criteria reading in the Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) system. Liftoff was scheduled for 7:36 p.m. EDT (23:36 GMT).

Assuming the problem is found and engineers can fix it in time, the SpaceX team will try again on July 3, 2017. The 58-minute window opens at 7:37 p.m. EDT (23:37 GMT). If it launches then, it will be the third Falcon 9 to fly in 10 days.

This mission will utilize an expendable legless Falcon 9 to send Intelsat 35e into a geostationary transfer orbit. The rocket will not be recovered as the 14,905-pound (6,761-kilogram) satellite is too massive to allow for a successful first stage landing downrange.

This will be the fourth Intelsat EpicNG satellite to be placed in orbit. It will service parts of the Americas, Europe, and Africa from a geostationary orbital slot of 34.5 degrees West longitude.

The Boeing-built satellite was built on the Boeing 702MP bus. It will have C- and Ku-band transmitters powered by two solar wings that generate between 6 kilowatt and 12 kilowatts of electricity. It is expected to operate for at least 15 years.

 

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Derek Richardson has a degree in mass media, with an emphasis in contemporary journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also has a blog about the International Space Station, called Orbital Velocity. He met with members of the SpaceFlight Insider team during the flight of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket with the MUOS-4 satellite. Richardson joined our team shortly thereafter. His passion for space ignited when he watched Space Shuttle Discovery launch into space Oct. 29, 1998. 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 his true calling was communicating to others about space. Since joining SpaceFlight Insider in 2015, Richardson has worked to increase the quality of our content, eventually becoming our managing editor. @TheSpaceWriter

Reader Comments

Only 110 kg lighter than the heaviest satellite the Proton ever lifted to GTO.

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