SpaceX aborts Falcon 9 rocket’s record-tying 16th launch attempt (Image Credit: Space.com)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will have to wait a bit longer to tie a reuse record.
The company had planned to launch 54 of its Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida atop a Falcon 9 on Friday at 12:40 a.m. EDT (0440 GMT). It’ll be the 16th mission for this particular rocket’s first stage, matching a mark set less than a week ago by another Falcon 9.
But it didn’t happen: The SpaceX mission team called an abort about 40 seconds before T-0, for reasons that weren’t immediately clear.
“There are 1,000 ways to launch a rocket, and there’s only one way that it can go right,” SpaceX’s Atticus Vadera said during Friday morning’s launch webcast. “So, given that, we are overly cautious on the ground. And if the team or the vehicle sees anything that looks just even slightly off, we will stop the countdown.”
The Falcon 9 and the Starlink satellites are in good health, Vadera added.
There’s still plenty of spaceflight action on Friday, even without the SpaceX mission. India plans to launch its robotic Chandrayaan 3 mission at 5:05 a.m. EDT (0905), for example, sending a lander and rover toward the moon.
And on Friday evening, a Rocket Lab Electron vehicle will launch seven small satellites from its site on the North Island of New Zealand. The company plans to recover the Electron’s first stage after liftoff, part of its effort to make the booster reusable like the Falcon 9.