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Concern with steering resource scrubs Falcon 9 launch

The Falcon 9 rocket is seen during launch pad 39A in Florida following Saturday’s scrub. Credit: NASA TV/Spaceflight Now

SpaceX called off a designed launch of a Falcon 9 rocket Saturday reduction than 15 seconds before liftoff to examine a “slightly odd” function of a vehicle’s tip theatre engine steering system, association arch Elon Musk said.

Engineers were examining a astonishing readings from a tip theatre steering complement via a countdown Saturday morning as a Falcon 9 rocket targeted blastoff from launch pad 39A during NASA’s Kennedy Space Center during 10:01 a.m. EST (1501 GMT).

As a countdown ticked a final seconds before liftoff, a member of a launch group called a hold.

“T-minus 20… Hold. Hold. Hold,” a user said. “Clock has stopped.”

The countdown time halted during T-minus 13 seconds, and a postponement automatically led to a launch being scrubbed for a day. The rocket usually had a one-second event to take off Saturday and broach reserve to a International Space Station.

SpaceX officials pronounced a goal will be pushed behind to during slightest Sunday, when a backup event is accessible during 9:38:59 a.m. EST (1438:59 GMT), presumption a technical problem can be addressed and corrected, if necessary.

Elon Musk, SpaceX’s owner and CEO, tweeted that a transformation of a hydraulic steering piston on a tip stage’s Merlin opening engine was “slightly odd.”

“Standing down to investigate,” Musk wrote.

He after wrote that there is a 99 percent a moody would be fine, even though entirely bargain a problem. “But that 1% possibility isn’t value rolling a dice,” Musk tweeted. “Better to wait a day.”

“System was immature for launch,” he tweeted. “I called it off.”

Musk pronounced SpaceX engineers “need to make certain that it isn’t symptomatic of a some-more poignant upstream base cause.”

The hydraulic bearing matrix control actuator pivots a projection of a second stage’s Merlin engine, directing approximately 200,000 pounds of bearing in a preferred instruction to drive a rocket in flight. The steering complement is driven by a high-pressure drain from a tip stage’s kerosene fuel system, expelling a need for a siphon or dedicated hydraulic fluid, Musk said.

He combined that there was no apparent tie between a steering system’s misconduct and a “very tiny” helium trickle in a second theatre engine’s spin start system, a surplus ignition source used to restart a powerplant in space.

SpaceX complicated a helium trickle Friday, and inaugurated to go forward with a countdown. The spin start complement is not compulsory to finish a mission’s primary purpose of fixation a Dragon supply boat in circuit to start a tour to a space station, though a rocket would need it to reignite a engine for a second theatre de-orbit and ordering maneuver, association officials said.

The Dragon upholder on tip of a Falcon 9 rocket is packaged with  nearly 5,500 pounds (2.5 metric tons) of reserve and experiments going to a space station.

This is a 10th such resupply launch conducted by SpaceX given 2012. It also happens to be SpaceX’s initial launch off pad 39A during a Kennedy Space Center, a storied launch trickery creatively built for a Apollo moon module and mutated for a space shuttle.

Pad 39A was a site of 12 Saturn 5 launches, including all a moon alighting missions and a Skylab space station, afterwards hosted 82 space convey takeoffs travelling a 30-year program.

SpaceX sealed a 20-year franchise to take over a launch formidable from NASA in Apr 2014, and with a company’s prior launch site during Cape Canaveral shop-worn in a arise of a rocket blast final year, pad 39A will support all Falcon 9 flights by during slightest mid-2017, and a entrance of a absolute Falcon Heavy upholder this summer.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

Article source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/02/18/concern-with-steering-mechanism-scrubs-falcon-9-launch/