SpaceX launch aborted just as engines started firing.

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket being checked after launch abort.

The launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket this morning was unfortunately aborted at 4:55am EDT, just a few seconds after it’s nine Merlin engines started up. The internal computers monitors the engines closely during launch, and it found a parameter that was out of bounds on one of the engines. This lead to an immediate cut off of all engines for safety reasons. With a narrow launch window of just one second, a new launch is preliminary set for Tuesday 22 May at 3:44am EDT (07:44am UTC), but this could be subject to change.

It’s not the first time a Falcon 9 rocket launch is cut off in this manner, but on the positive side the safety features worked properly, and this gives the crew possibilities to check the vehicle and analyse all the data. As it looks now, one of the Merlin engines gave a parameter out of the allowed tolerances, causing a full shutdown. The rocket might be ready for a relaunch withing 72 hours, much thanks to its built in safety features, and of course if the data now being analysed doesn’t show anything out of order.

There will be a short briefing at 3:30am PT / 6:30am ET on NASA TV

Update: The launch was aborted because of pressure being built up in the combustion chamber for engine 5. The Falcon 9 rocket can loose and turn off up to two engines, but during initial take off all nine engines are needed to be fully operational. Engine 5 started fine but soon started trending high pressure, causing the security systems to force a shutdown off all engines. It does not seem to be a sensor failure, but rather an issue with the engine that needs to be looked in to. NASA and SpaceX is now looking into May 23 as a backup launch date, if for some reason the launch vehicle is not ready for May 22.

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