Last-second launch delay for SpaceX at historic moon pad

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Last-minute rocket trouble forced SpaceX on Saturday to delay its inaugural launch from NASA's historic moon pad.

SpaceX halted the countdown with just 13 seconds remaining. The second-stage steering issue actually cropped up several minutes earlier. But with just an instant to get the unmanned Falcon rocket airborne, flight controllers could not resolve the problem in time.

The next launch attempt — provided everything can be fixed quickly — would be Sunday morning.

The Falcon remains at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A, waiting to soar on a space station delivery mission. It's the same pad where Americans flew to the moon almost a half-century ago.

Up at the International Space Station, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet had a light-hearted take on the delay.

"Looks like I'll have to wait one more day to get my French cheese ;)" Pesquet wrote via Twitter. He added: "We need all your cargo for @ISS_Research!"

SpaceX chief Elon Musk said engineers want to make certain the "slightly odd" position of an engine piston isn't representative of bigger trouble. It's not out of the question that Saturday's problem is somehow related to the minor upper-stage helium leak detected the day before, he reported.

There's a 99 percent chance everything is likely to be fine, Musk said in a tweet. "But that 1 percent chance isn't worth rolling the dice. Better to wait a day."

Thousands of guests had jammed the space center to witness the comeback of 39A, last used in 2011 for the final space shuttle flight. Disappointment was high when the urgent call of "hold, hold, hold!" sounded over the radio lines.

This will be SpaceX's first Florida launch since a rocket explosion last summer.

The Sept. 1 accident occurred during prelaunch testing at a neighboring pad. SpaceX turned to Launch Complex 39A — which it leases from NASA — to resume flights. The company hopes to launch astronauts from 39A next year.

Russia, meanwhile, plans to launch a supply ship to the International Space Station on Wednesday. If the SpaceX mission doesn't get going soon, it would likely have to get in line behind the Russian delivery.

___

Online:

SpaceX: http://www.spacex.com/

NASA: https://www.nasa.gov/

Related News

206 of Cambodia's rare royal turtles released at new center

Sep 13, 2016

More than 200 of Cambodia's nearly extinct royal turtles were released in muddy waters at a new breeding and conservation center that was built in hopes of keeping the national reptile from disappearing

F1 Renault driver Magnussen expects to compete at Italian GP

Aug 30, 2016

Formula One driver Kevin Magnussen expects to compete at this weekend's Italian Grand Prix after medical checks showed no serious injury to his left ankle following a heavy crash at last weekend's Belgian GP

EU citizens in UK anxiously seek security before Brexit

Mar 19, 2017

German neuroscientist Sam Schwarzkopf was startled to receive a letter from the British government telling him his application for permanent residence had been rejected and he should prepare to leave the U.K.

You may also like these

Polar bear plan doesn't seek direct action on climate change

Jan 9, 2017

A US plan to save polar bears fails to demand direct action against climate warning _ the main threat to the animals

GOP senior statesmen making push for a carbon tax

Feb 8, 2017

A group of Republican senior statesmen are calling for a carbon tax to combat the effects of climate change, and hoping to sell their plan to the White House

Rene Preval, who led Haiti amid catastrophe, dies at 74

Mar 3, 2017

Rene Preval, a low-key technocrat who led Haiti as president during the devastating January 2010 earthquake and a messy and prolonged recovery, has died

Search

Recent Discovery will take you to the captivating developments in science, technology, and the universe around us. We deliver to you the latest news, theories, and developments in the world of science.

Contact us: sales@recentdiscovery.com

Trending News

ScienceAgricultural ScienceArchaeologyAstronomy Press