SpaceX today aborted the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying six Orbcomm OG2 communication satellites; the second mission flight of a Falcon booster equipped with landing legs. Six minutes and nine seconds before the lift off, mission control declared an abort of the launch due to a problem with the second stage of the rocket.
The Falcon 9 was scheduled to lift off at 7:01 pm EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, after a one-hour hold due to a pressure drop detected in the second stage. Despite the delay to determine the cause of the malfunction reading, technicians were unable to isolate and correct the fault within the one-hour launch window, and the launch crew were ordered to stand down.
Already delayed from a previous attempt on May 10 due to a helium leak, this launch was supposed to deliver the first set of a series of 17 satellites that will replace the first-generation of Orbcomm’s constellation of communications satellites. Built by the Sierra Nevada Corporation and weighing about 170 kg (375 lb), the satellites are larger and more efficient than previous Orbcomm craft, and are capable of faster data feeds and can cover higher latitudes on the Earth’s surface. In addition, they can be used for tracking Automatic Identification System (AIS)-equipped ships, allowing their owners and emergency services to keep tabs on them.
SpaceX has not announced when the next launch attempt will occur, but a spokesman said that it could be as early as Saturday.