back to article SCRUBBED: Technical oopsies halt SpaceX's bid for the Money Ring

The first attempt by SpaceX to launch a satellite into geostationary orbit has been put on hold after a number of technical problems left its Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad. The SpaceX team had a 66-minute launch window for Monday's rocket trip, and halted the countdown at T-13 minutes after engineers discovered a problem …


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  1. Annihilator

    Geostationary - bloody tough

    Serves as a good reminder at how astonishingly far out geostationary orbit is - ~22,000 miles. Consider Hubble, roughly the furthest a Shuttle ever got, is about 350 miles.

    1. Ian Yates

      Re: Geostationary - bloody tough

      Tell me about it! Not only do you have to get to the correct altitude, you need to do it in the correct position.

      I can sympathise with SpaceX, as my attempts to do this in KSP have been highly stressful ;)

      1. The elephant in the room
        Thumb Up


        I'd not heard of KSP - looks like a great game! Thanks for the heads up.

  2. Swoopert

    Shame it didn't go ahead tonight, but it was the right call, and the webcast gave a great insight into the abort , recycle, and safing procedures, as well as the management of the launch window with multiple attempts. One note, you forgot to change this bit back:

    The second stage, with just a single Merlin rocket engine, then fired off two burns to get the satellite to the desired altitude.

  3. ian 22

    Another faulty valve?

    Who supplies these? The Fawlty Valve Company? And not the first time.

    Remind me when next I have plumbing problems at chez moi.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: Another faulty valve? @ian 22

      Oh, do you need valves that can cope with cryogenic oxygen? Weird plumbing you've got in your house.

      Valves that can cope with the sort of stuff required in rockets are quite well engineered devices.

      1. william 10

        Re: Another faulty valve? @ian 22

        I think you find he's like me, he cannot afford the energy prices to heat these awful UK houses many would say my house gets to −222.65 °C :-)

  4. Kharkov
    Thumb Up

    Here's hoping...

    I wish we could get a few details about the launch. For example, how much fuel, in actual quantity and burn-time, will be left in the 1st stage after that 3-minute initial burn. It'd be good to know how much it takes to get the first stage down again in one piece.

    Still, it's better to have the launch cancelled and re-scheduled than have it launch & fail. Here's hoping that the next scheduled launch goes off without a hitch.

    1. Tim Brummer

      Re: Here's hoping...

      No fuel left in the first stage, no recovery attempt. It takes all the first stage fuel to get a decent sized satellite to Clarks orbit.

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Unfortunate but the satellite is still safe and ready for re-launch

    I hope their next attempt is more successful.

    1. Spiracle

      Re: Unfortunate but the satellite is still safe and ready for re-launch

      Exactly. Success, in launching circles, is defined as "we didn't blow up". All the mechanisms and procedures designed to prevent the destruction of the vehicle worked perfectly.

      On the pad without having blown up is a success. In the correct orbit without blowing up is a great success.

  6. Aebleskiver

    I prefer SpaceX's 'take no chances' attitude as compared to NASA's "just try launching it anyway" approach...

  7. Parax

    Kerbal Space Program

    As always it seems Jebediah Kerman was happy to launch even if SpaceX mission control weren't...

    If you are curious about space and want to learn about orbital mechanics give KSP a go it's great fun and very educational.

    1. The last doughnut

      Re: Kerbal Space Program

      I would do but it sounds a bit too much like a Madonna-inspired cult.

      1. Fink-Nottle

        Re: Kerbal Space Program

        > a Madonna-inspired cult.

        Hmmm ... that gives new meaning to the slogan 'Mün or bust'.

    2. jjk

      Re: Kerbal Space Program

      I can only caution against trying out KSP if you're not addicted yet. Before you know it you too will talk in incomprehensible jargon about "burning prograde at apoapsis" and "delta-V required for taking off from Eve", and you'll waste countless hours watching Scott Manley be better at it than you on YouTube.

      You Have Been Warned.

      (Icon should be self explanatory for KSP fans.)

      1. Ian Yates

        Re: Kerbal Space Program

        Tell me you have an antidote?! Don't even want to think about the hours I've sunk in to reaching imaginary planets only to screw something up in the staging and dig a new crater...

  8. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Problems with the strongback

    They also had problems with the strongback that lifts the rocket vertical and acts as sort of a gantry. First, it ripped a cooling umbilical out of the payload fairing when it retracted, and second, it wouldn't lift back into place after the scrub.

    Second, to be totally selfish, this is better for me because there should be no clouds on Thanksgiving, so I actually have a chance of seeing the launch.

    And last, Molly McCormick can integrate my avionics any time! A hot brainy babe that's into computers, space & rockets? I'm in LOVE! I mean it this time!

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