No Thanksgiving treat for SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 with SES-8 – UPDATE
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla — The Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) Falcon 9 v1.1 will have to wait for another day as technical issues had their way and the F9 stayed on the pad. As the media watched from an adjacent causeway, the F9 briefly flared to life, eliciting a brief roar which soon sputtered into silence. The first launch attempt was at 5:39 p.m. EST. Most had written off the day, but SpaceX engineers soldiered on and tried again.
However, it was not to be. The second attempt at 6:44 p.m. EST appeared to have the nine Merlin 1D engines activate again, albeit for far briefer. The second shutdown spelled the end of this evening’s efforts to get the Falcon 9 v1.1 off the pad and deliver the SES-8 to geostationary orbit.
SpaceX frontman Elon Musk tweeted the following after the first hold:
“Launch aborted by autosequence due to slower than expected thrust ramp. Seems ok on closer inspection. Cycling countdown.”
Today’s delay comes after a previous scrub on Monday, November 25, when the launch was halted three times due to issues with an autosequencer while the vehicle was being transferred to internal power and suspected first stage problems. While the Falcon 9 v1.1 has launched previously from Vandenberg AFB, this will be Florida’s first launch of this rocket configuration. The SES-8 payload will bring a wider range of telecommunications capabilities to parts of Asia and the Pacific. Notably, it is intended to be the first satellite delivered by SpaceX into a geostationary orbit.
The launch has been rescheduled to take place tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 at 6:46 p.m. EST.
SpaceFlight Insider is currently updating this article and will provide more updates throughout the course of this evening.
Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.