KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch was aborted Thursday morning with 18 seconds remaining due to a technical issue.
What You Need To Know
- SpaceX Falcon 9 was to send another 60 Starlink satellites to orbit
- Launch attempt from Kennedy Space Center called off with 18 seconds left
- SpaceX had technical error, did not say when it would try again for launch
The rocket was on the Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center, set to lift off at 9:17 a.m. EDT with 60 more Starlink satellites aboard.
Standing down from today's Starlink mission due to an out of family ground system sensor reading; will announce a new target launch date once confirmed on the Range— SpaceX (@SpaceX) October 1, 2020
But with less than 20 seconds remaining in the countdown, the clock stopped. SpaceX controllers said at this point in the countdown, the rocket-launch process is "fully autonomous," so an anomalous "ground-sensor reading" automatically stopped the countdown.
SpaceX hasn't so far said more about what the ground sensor detected, nor did it say when another launch attempt would take place.
This is not the first time SpaceX had to delay this mission. The Falcon 9 launch was supposed to blast off Monday morning was pushed back due to poor weather conditions.
Targeting Thursday, October 1 at 9:17 a.m. EDT for launch of Starlink. Due to a conflict on the Range, now targeting launch of GPS III-4 on Friday, October 2; 15-min window opens at 9:43 p.m. EDT pic.twitter.com/VVhhatjBbh— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 30, 2020
WAITING, ANTICIPATING: less than 2 hours from @SpaceX #Falcon9 #Starlink launch from @NASAKennedy Pad 39A. Wx still 70 % go. @MyNews13 @MyNews13Weather #News13Brevard @45thSpaceWing @Jon_Shaban pic.twitter.com/kzUeoHkevC— Greg Pallone (@gpallone13) October 1, 2020
The Starlink satellites aboard the Falcon 9 will add to the more than 700 already in space to soon form a large orbital, broadband network to provide service to underserved areas around the planet.
Ten minutes after launch, the Falcon 9 first-stage booster was supposed to land on SpaceX's ocean-faring drone ship that is positioned out in the Atlantic Ocean. It would be the third launch and landing for that booster.
SpaceX has another mission for this week. The company is targeting Friday night for the launch of a Falcon 9 on the GPS III mission, which will carry a GPS satellite for the U.S. Space Force from Kennedy Space Center. That launch window is from 9:43 p.m. EDT to 9:58 p.m. EDT Friday.
A United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launch was also called off Wednesday night.