SpaceX Falcon 1 Launch Scrubbed

By Keith Cowing
November 26, 2005
Filed under
SpaceX Falcon 1 Launch Scrubbed

SpaceX announced late today that today’s Falcon 1 launch has been scrubbed. According to SpaceX, the next launch date will be at least a week away from now, but could be mid-December.

Editor’s update: According to Elon Musk at SpaceX: on November 26, 2005 at 5:11 p.m. PST: “The launch is scrubbed for today. As I warned, the likelihood of an all new rocket launching from an all new launch pad on its first attempt is low.

What happened was that an auxiliary liquid oxygen (LOX) fill tank had a manual vent valve incorrectly set to vent. The time it took to correct the problem resulted in significant LOX boiloff and loss of helium, and it was the latter that caused the launch abort. LOX is used to chill the helium bottles, so we lose helium if there is no LOX to cool the bottles.

Although we were eventually able to refill the vehicle LOX tanks, the rate at which we could add helium was slower than the rate at which LOX was boiling away. There was no way to close the gap, so the launch had to be called off. In addition, we experienced an anomaly with the main engine computer that requires further investigation and was arguably reason in and of itself to postpone launch.

We are anticipating rescheduling the launch within a week at the earliest but probably longer as we need to bring in LOX and helium from Hawaii. Our LOX plant on Omelek will not replenish in time.

Earlier in the day the planned 4:00 pm EST launch was delayed for several hours due to weather.

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.