SpaceX Falcon 9 remains grounded after second cancellation announced late on Thursday evening. SpaceX engineers and the rest of the team announced that for the second day in a row, the Falcon 9 booster wouldn’t launch due to a technical problem.
Both call-offs occurring this week were due to a technical issue related to loading Falcon 9 booster with cooled liquid oxygen. The SpaceX rocket will carry a communications satellite into orbit before returning to Earth.
The powerful satellite is owned by Luxembourg’s network operator, SES SA and built by Boeing. Weighing 12,613 pounds, the communications satellite is perched atop the Falcon 9 booster, waiting to be launched into orbit. When the SpaceX rocket will be ready for launch, the SES SA communications satellite will be carried 24,233 miles beyond Earth.
Hopefully, upon returning to Earth, Falcon 9 will land on the offshore platform. Meanwhile, the SpaceX team is reviewing data as well as potential launch dates. SpaceX Falcon 9 remains grounded after second cancellation. The first call-off was announced as a technical issue related to the temperature of the propellant.
Following, the clock was reset for a launch on Thursday at 6:47 p.m. EST. While the countdown ran smoothly, one member of the SpaceX team called off the launch for a second time at T-minus one minute 41-second. The launch window was reset until 8:23 p.m. However, the team decided to call it off entirely. While no further details have been provided, it’s expected that the Falcon 9 booster will take off soon.
SpaceX has come a long way since the initial tests for the Falcon 9 booster. However, this launch carrying the communications satellite would only be the second for the upgraded rocket. The booster has been tweaked to improve launch/landing performance. In December, SpaceX Falcon 9 behaved impeccably during the flight test.
The new Falcon 9 booster measures five feet extra in length. In addition, it sports the extended interstage section, as well as the upgraded stage separation system. The propellant tanks have been extended as well. The powerful Merlin 1D engine generates 210,000 pounds of thrust in vacuum.
Both the Merlin 1D engine and those of the first stage of the Falcon 9 booster burn RP-1 as well as liquid oxygen. Typically, liquid oxygen reaches a minus 298-degree temperature. However, liquid oxygen used to power the Falcon 9 engines reaches minus 340 degrees Fahrenheit. RP-1 also needs to be cooled to 20 degrees from the room temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Due to cooling issues, SpaceX Falcon 9 remains grounded after second cancellation. Further details will be announced soon.
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