SpaceX Scrubs Again, Will Make Next Try in a Few Days

by

PARIS— SpaceX will take several days to examine the causes of a slower-than-expected increase in pressure in the Falcon 9 rocket’s first-stage cryogenic oxygen tank that forced a last-second scrub of its planned Nov. 28 launch of the SES-8 telecommunications satellite.

SpaceX had hoped to nail down the issue within the time it took to restart the countdown at T minus 13 minutes, but at T minus one minute 48 seconds decided that this countdown too should be aborted.

The first countdown abort occurred at T minus zero seconds – the moment of ignition of the first-stage engines.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) will now give itself “a few days” to examine what happened before making another attempt, the company said Nov. 28. The launch will be the second of SpaceX’s new Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket and the company’s first attempt at placing a satellite into geostationary transfer orbit.

The Nov. 28 abort followed a Nov. 25 countdown stop, in the final few minutes before liftoff, because of an oxygen-pressurization issue. Flight attempts from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., spaceport were suspended for two days, on Nov. 26 and 27, because of heavy commercial air traffic congestion on the eve of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration had given SpaceX authorization to fly on Nov. 28 and 29, but the company wants to give itself more time to get to the bottom of the issue. The mission’s goal is to place the SES-8 telecommunications satellite, owned by fleet operator SES of Luxembourg, into a geosynchronous transfer orbit from which SES-8 will power its own way to final geostationary position.

SpaceX had not announced a new target launch date as of early Nov. 29.