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 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 website about human spaceflight called Orbital Velocity.