Technical issues delay historic LC-39A SpaceX launch
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — The launch of SpaceX‘s CRS-10 Dragon capsule from the historic Launch Complex 39A has been scrubbed due to an issue with Falcon 9’s upper-stage thrust vector control system.
The flight was scheduled to lift off at 10:01 a.m. EST (15:01 GMT) Feb. 18, 2017. However, at 13 seconds before launch, a hold was called due to a technical issue with the upper-stage thrust vector control system. SpaceX launch teams felt they needed more time to understand the issue.
Other than this technical issue, the countdown proceeded rather smoothly. The weather was expected to produce thick clouds; however, as the clock approached T-minus zero, the weather continued to clear. NASA stated that updates will be provided as they are available; Spaceflight Insider will share these additional details as soon as possible.
The next launch opportunity is scheduled for 9:38:58 a.m. EST (14:38:58 GMT) Feb. 19. At 10:22 a.m. EST (15:22 GMT), SpaceX Media Relations issued the following statement: “Standing down to take a closer look at an engine actuator on the second stage. 9:38 a.m. ET tomorrow is next earliest launch opportunity.”
UPDATE – Elon Musk has tweeted: “If this is the only issue, flight would be fine, but need to make sure that it isn’t symptomatic of a more significant upstream root cause[.]
“Btw, 99% likely to be fine (closed loop TVC wd overcome error), but that 1% chance isn’t worth rolling the dice. Better to wait a day.”
Additionally, in a reply to a Twitter user, Musk said the system was green for launch and he was the one to call it off. It is worth noting that on the NASA TV stream, at around three minutes before launch, Musk and others were seen huddled around computer consoles, likely examining the data.
Bart Leahy is a freelance technical writer living in Orlando, Florida. Leahy's diverse career has included work for The Walt Disney Company, NASA, the Department of Defense, Nissan, a number of commercial space companies, small businesses, nonprofits, as well as the Science Cheerleaders.