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SpaceX Rocket Launch Postponed Again (www.cbc.ca) 30

ClickOnThis writes with a CBC report that SpaceX has "called off a planned launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a communications satellite less than two minutes before blastoff from Florida on Thursday, citing a technical problem. It marked the second straight day that Elon Musk's privately owned Space Exploration Technologies had postponed the launch."
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SpaceX Rocket Launch Postponed Again

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  • is not to play.........but you already knew that.
  • by Harlequin80 ( 1671040 ) on Thursday February 25, 2016 @11:30PM (#51589169)

    http://spaceflightnow.com/2016... [spaceflightnow.com]

    The Falcon 9 rocket’s countdown proceeded normally Thursday until a member of the SpaceX launch team called a hold at approximately T-minus 1 minute, 41 seconds, before the scheduled launch time of 6:47 p.m. EST (2347 GMT).

    The cause of the last-minute abort was an issue with loading cryogenic liquid oxygen into the rocket, according to a SpaceX official on the official launch webcast. Both stages of the Falcon 9 burn a mixture of RP-1 kerosene fuel and liquid oxygen.

    • by Irate Engineer ( 2814313 ) on Thursday February 25, 2016 @11:51PM (#51589237)

      The Falcon 9 v1.2 uses deep chilled liquid oxygen in order to increase the propellant density, so more can get loaded on, which (according to Tsiolkovsky's Rocket Equation) increases the velocity to which it can accelerate a given payload mass (or conversely, how much mass you can accelerate to a given velocity). This system has been giving SpaceX some teething troubles.

      SES-9 is going to a very high Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) to allow the satellite to get to its station sooner, as this mission has been delayed for a while. SpaceX is working really hard to get this satellite out as high as they can for the customer. They are still going to attempt to recover the first stage on a barge, but concede that they are going to be at the absolute limits of their fuel for this attempt, so it is very possible that they'll run out of fuel before touchdown. They are really pushing the envelope of the Falcon 9 v1.2 with this launch.

    • by Michael Woodhams ( 112247 ) on Thursday February 25, 2016 @11:55PM (#51589245) Journal

      As explained in your linked article, the latest version [wikipedia.org] of Falcon 9 uses super-cold liquid oxygen, as it is denser. This means that they need to pump it in just before launch, so it doesn't have time to warm up. Previously the LO2 would have been loaded a few hours before launch, and there would have been plenty of time to deal with any loading issues, so this bit of cleverness has cost them a scrubbed launch. Hopefully it is just teething troubles and they'll be able to make the LO2 loading process reliable soon.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I think it is indeed just teething troubles as you say. The Russians have been using supercooled LOX for a long time and have managed to perfect it, so that is an existence proof that there is no fundamental obstacle in the way.

  • maybe elon could load ted cruz onto the rocket before sending it to space? then he can make sure it fails? that would be super sweet thx.

  • to phrase it like that - it's far far far better to scrub a launch with the slightest potential for error than to have a failure. The launch director must always err on the side of caution.

    • it's far far far better to scrub a launch with the slightest potential for error than to have a failure.

      Submitter here. You're absolutely right!

      I submitted because I haven't seen a story about this flight on slashdot since SpaceX's last launch. The next launch is significant because they're trying for another soft-landing of the first stage on the ocean barge. I just wanted everyone to be up-to-date.

      Thanks also to Harlequin80 for the link to spaceflightnow.com (see above.)

      • The landing attempt on the barge is also significant because of the GEO transfer profile of this flight. The booster will be going much faster than previous landing attempts, so it is much riskier.

        I was impressed with the landing site - the landing is supposed to be about 10 minutes after launch and it takes place 400 miles down range. Wow... rockets are... uh,... really fast.

        • The landing attempt on the barge is also significant because of the GEO transfer profile of this flight. The booster will be going much faster than previous landing attempts, so it is much riskier.

          Excellent point. Riskier because they will have less contingency in the amount of fuel available for the soft landing. Thus the prudent cancellation of the launch when they suspected a problem with the loading of fuel onto the rocket.

          I was impressed with the landing site - the landing is supposed to be about 10 minutes after launch and it takes place 400 miles down range. Wow... rockets are... uh,... really fast.

          Yup. Rockets need to accelerate to high velocity in order to put stuff in space so that it stays there. Low-earth-orbit velocity is about 7.8 km/s.

  • Why is this news!
    the shuttle wouldn't have blown up if NASA hadn't been chasing headlines.
    Safety First!

"The fundamental principle of science, the definition almost, is this: the sole test of the validity of any idea is experiment." -- Richard P. Feynman

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