CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – As the countdown reached zero, the unmistakable sounds of launch were heard. The count, the overpressure valves, the igniters, and the engines all working toward launch. Then, it all stopped. The launch network host called “Liftoff… Disregard. That’s an abort.”
Watching SpaceX’s Youtube feed, viewers could see the exhaust clouds clearing as the sea breeze blew them away from the launch pad where the Falcon 9 rocket still sits. SpaceX stated via Tweet that the abort was an automatic response to “out of family data” during the launch sequence.
This is what countdowns are for. To run final checks. To catch problems before they become catastrophic. To quote the SpaceX webcast host, “There are thousands of ways for spaceflight to go wrong, and only one way for it to go right.” When setbacks happen, it is easy to be discouraged, but just remember that spaceflight is hard. Despite SpaceX’s flair for making it look easy, launching, recovering, and operating space vehicles is no simple feat.
This launch would would have been the fifth launch for this booster, which continues to set reuse records. It was the first booster to ever be reused three times, then four times. The Block 5 iteration of Falcon 9 boosters are rated for 10 reuses. The fairings for this mission were also being reused, which makes the second stage the only portion of the booster which is not flight proven.
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