SpaceX has reportedly delayed the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket to carry a classified spy satellite for the United States National Reconnaissance Office. The move became necessary has a result of high pressure in the second-stage booster.
Tagged NROL-108, the rocket was to launch from Pad 39A of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on December 17. However, reports have it that a possible launch attempt could be scheduled for the coming days.
According to reports, a temporary weather issue led to the initial delay of the launch by 45 minutes before SpaceX personnel called a hold 1 minute and 53 seconds before blastoff. After trying to ready the rocket for a second attempt, the launch team decided that it was not possible.
“During the countdown, pressure was slightly high in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank, which caused the abort,” Andy Tran, a production supervisor at SpaceX who provided commentary for the launch, said during the live broadcast.
“Keep in mind, the purpose of the countdown is to help us catch these potential issues prior to flight; the vehicle and payload are in good health,” Tran said after calling off the delay but before SpaceX scrubbed the launch for the day. “This is the nature of the launch business.”
The deliberations about delaying the launch till another time was not the easiest, with SpaceX making the decision after over an hour after the hold was called. The team decided that the launch window was not the best for launching the rocket and could attempt another launch in the next 24 hours.
“There are a thousand ways launch can go wrong and only one way it can go right,” Tran said after the decision of the team to stand down from the launch attempt. “It just wasn’t in the cards for us today.”
A backup flight window will be opening in December 18 to last for three hours and the SpaceX team might just attempt another launch if everything goes as planned.
“We do have a good shot tomorrow to send this NROL-108 satellite into orbit,” Tran said.
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