SpaceX aborted the launch of its Falcon 9 spaceship at the last second on May 19, right after its computers detected higher-than-it-considered-safe pressure readings in engine 5. The launch was stopped exactly one half second before liftoff.
The next launch attempt will likely happen on either May 22nd or 23rd, when there are launch windows available. But that decision won’t be made until the exact cause of the abort is determined.
“We had a nominal ignition for all nine (engines),” Gwynne Shotwell, the president of Space Exploration Technologies of Hawthorne California (SpaceX), is quoted as saying. “Engine 5 started fine and (its chamber pressure) started trending high.”
She said that the high pressure could have been caused by too little fuel flowing into the engine, but that it’s too early to know.
“We’re going to have to spend more time looking at the data.”
The rocket was set to be launched at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Saturday May 19th.
The hanger used for the rocket is right next to the launch pad. And Shotwell said that the company is ready to replace the engine with a spare if they need to.
The purpose of the rocket launch was to launch a Dragon capsule to the International Space Station, carrying food and supplies, and serving to prove cargo delivery capability using privately built spacecraft. If the mission succeeds, it will be the first time a privately built spacecraft has docked at the space station.
NASA is currently working closely with the SpaceX company as part of its Commercial Orbital Transportation Services contract.
“We’re ready to support when SpaceX is ready to go,” said Alan Lindenmoyer, NASA’s manager of the Commercial Crew and Cargo Program.
Source and Images: NASA, SpaceX