Lastminute SpaceX Thanksgiving

November 29, 2013 by  

Lastminute SpaceX Thanksgiving, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket sits on its launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Thursday.
The launch of an unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was aborted before liftoff on Thursday due to a technical issue, company officials said.

It was the second attempt this week to launch a communications satellite for SES, which operates the world’s second largest fleet.

Monday’s first attempt was called off after unusual pressure readings in the rocket’s liquid oxygen tank. On Thursday, the clock ticked all the way down to ignition of the Falcon’s nine first-stage engines – but the flight computer immediately shut down the engines. “Launch aborted by autosequence due to slower than expected thrust ramp,” SpaceX’s billionaire founder, Elon Musk, reported in a Twitter update.

The countdown was restarted but then stopped again with less than a minute left because engineers had not finished analyzing the data from the earlier glitch. “Better to be paranoid and wrong,” Musk explained. He said it would take a few days to inspect the engines and reschedule the next launch attempt.

‘Extremely important’ satellite
Perched on top of the rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida was a 7,000-pound (3,175-kilogram) telecommunications satellite owned by Luxembourg-based SES, which operates a 54-satellite telecom fleet, the world’s second-largest.

The satellite, known as SES-8 and worth about $100 million, will be positioned to provide television, cable, broadband and other services to customers in India, China, Vietnam and other markets in Asia.

“It’s an extremely important satellite for us,” Martin Halliwell, chief technology officer of SES, told reporters at a prelaunch gathering on Sunday in Cocoa Beach, Fla. “We know that as we go forward into these very significant growth markets that it’s absolutely critical that we have a cost-effective and efficient way to get to orbit. That’s really what SpaceX has brought us.”

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