“Abort on engine 5. Chamber pressure high.”

Today was to be the launch day for the Dragon capsule. SpaceX’s manned space vehicle, and the only manned craft ever to travel into orbit which was completely built by a private company as opposed to a government funded corporation.

Sadly, despite my waking up early on a Saturday to watch the live webcast, there was no launch today. SpaceX have a few safety systems in place which automatically monitor the nine engines in the Falcon9 rocket. If anything looks wrong, the launch can be aborted rapidly, and given that if conditions aren’t optimal the results could be catastrophic, this is a good idea. Unfortunately, today just such an abort was made at around T-01 seconds, shortly after ignition. The launch window for today’s trip to the ISS was only about 1 second, so… Launch scrubbed. No launch today. Booo!

From the chatter over the live feed, the problem was with engine 5, whose chamber pressure was apparently above the acceptable limit. The next launch window is most likely to be on May 22nd. I intend to stay tuned! But damn. Even if there was no actual launch, that was still exciting!

(In other news, I’m quite liking the drum and bass music the SpaceX people have at the end of their webcast!)

EDIT– More detailed reports are now available from NASA and Universe Today.

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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