Spaceflight Insider

‘Flight parameter’ issue delays Pegasus launch – UPDATE

The CYGNSS Pegasus XL rocket, attached to Orbital ATK's L-1011 aircraft at the skidstrip at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Photo Credit: Carleton Bailie / SpaceFlight Insider

The CYGNSS Pegasus XL rocket attached to Orbital ATK’s L-1011 aircraft at the Skid Strip at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Photo Credit: Carleton Bailie / SpaceFlight Insider

Orbital ATK has postponed Wednesday’s planned launch of their air-dropped Pegasus rocket with NASA’s CYGNSS mission. An issue with flight parameter data used by spacecraft software was discovered during a routine test on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016.

According to Orbital ATK, the new flight parameter data have undergone verification testing and will be uploaded to the spacecraft Wednesday.

“The uploading of new flight data is a very routine procedure, and is expected to correct the issue,” a statement from the company read.

It is unclear when the next launch attempt will be as it will be determined pending the results of ongoing tests and Eastern Range availability.

This is the third postponement this week for Orbital ATK’s Pegasus. Monday’s attempt was thwarted after an issue with a circuit board in a hydraulic pump cropped up. The rocket and its carrier aircraft were already flying over the drop zone when the issue was noticed.

It was thought the team could replace the failed part in time for a Tuesday launch; however, late Monday it was announced the flight had to be rescheduled to Wednesday to allow for time for parts to be delivered from California.

UPDATE: The launch has been rescheduled for Dec. 15, 2016, at 8:26 a.m. EST (13:26 GMT). The launch window will once again be an hour long.



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. You can find him on twitter @TheSpaceWriter.

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