Series of technical glitches ground Falcon until Thanksgiving

Falcon 9 on pad

Falcon 9 on the pad shortly before the final hold that scrubbed Monday’s launch.

The first launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a payload to geosynchronous orbit will have to wait until Thanksgiving, after a series of relatively minor glitches kept the rocket on the ground during Monday evening’s launch window.

SpaceX had hoped to launch the SES-8 satellite for European satellite operator SES during a 66-minute launch window that opened at 5:37 pm EST (2237 GMT) from Cape Canaveral. However, the countdown was held at T-13 minutes for some time to check a valve on the first stage of the rocket, with the launch rescheduled for 5:54 pm EST. However, the countdown was stopped at T-6:11 in the countdown because of an issue around the time the first stage was switching to internal power. SpaceX later said they needed to adjust a telemetry limit on a power supply, and rescheduled the launch for 6:30 pm EST, near the end of the window.

The countdown resumed and made it to T-3:40 before another hold was called because of a pressurization issue with the first stage liquid oxygen system. “We observed unexpected readings with the first stage liquid oxygen system so we decided to investigate,” the company said in a brief statement after the scrub. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk also weighed in via Twitter about the scrub:

With no chance to correct the problem before the launch window closed, SpaceX scrubbed the launch for the night and rescheduled it for 5:38 pm EST (2238 GMT) Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. (Weather forecasts were less promising for Tuesday and Wednesday, and there was also the difficulty of closing airspace for the launch during two busy pre-holiday travel days.)

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