Elon Musk’s spaceflight company SpaceX just aborted its launch in perhaps the most dramatic way possible.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 was set to launch an uncrewed Dragon capsule loaded with about 5,500 pounds of supplies to the International Space Station under a contract with NASA, but with just 13 seconds left in the countdown, the company decided to abort the launch.
The decision was made on Saturday out of an “overabundance of caution” when engineers were concerned about a problem detected in the second stage of the vehicle.
If this is the only issue, flight would be fine, but need to make sure that it isn’t symptomatic of a more significant upstream root cause
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 18, 2017
Because the launch window was instantaneous, any hold that would have resulted from investigating the problem during the countdown would effectively abort the launch for the day.
The International Space Station needs to be flying directly above Cape Canaveral as the Falcon 9 launches for the Dragon to make it into the right orbit to reach the space laboratory.
SpaceX is planning to launch the Falcon 9 on Sunday at 9:38 a.m. ET, and you can watch it in the window below:
The company will also attempt to land the first stage of its Falcon 9 back on a pad in Florida after launching the Dragon on its way. If successful, it will be SpaceX’s eighth booster landing.
Once the Falcon 9 does take flight, it will mark an historic day for SpaceX and NASA.
While the company has flown many missions from their pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Sunday’s launch will lift off from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A, a launchpad rich in history dating back to the moon landings of NASA’s Apollo era.
SpaceX has a 20 year lease on the pad to launch many missions and many rockets to space in the future.
Source: SANS ISC SecNewsFeed @ February 19, 2017 at 09:51PM