SpaceX aborts launch of commercial communications satellite due to technical issues

On February 28, SpaceX cancelled the launch of a commercial communications satellite seconds before liftoff, and postponed the mission once again. Launch controllers said that SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket was planned to launch the SES-9 satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 6:46 pm yesterday, but the initial liftoff time was delayed back 35 minutes as a boat drifted into the mission's ‘keep-out zone’.

Falcon 9's engines started firing up at 7:21 pm EST, however, they stopped the moment countdown clock was about to reach 0.

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said that the rocket could have blasted off yesterday if there wasn’t any stray boat.

Musk said via his official Twitter account, @elonmusk, “Launch aborted on low-thrust alarm. Rising oxygen temps due to hold for boat and helium bubble triggered alarm”.

The SES-9 mission includes a risky attempt of flying the Falcon 9's first stage on the Earth for a smooth landing on a SpaceX ‘autonomous spaceport drone ship’. The most recent delay was the third time when the mission has been postponed.

According to company representatives, Wednesday and Thursday launch attempts were cancelled due to problems with the loading of liquid-oxygen propellant onto the rocket. No official announcement has been made by SpaceX so far about when the next SES-9 launch attempt will be held.

During the launch webcast yesterday, Falcon 9 product director John Insprucker said that they don’t have planned another launch date so far.

Insprucker added that they will continue to evaluate the first-stage telemetry that they have. He mentioned that the Falcon 9 is safe and the vehicle has undergone a standard recovery sequence that has been used many times.