Saturday, May 19, 2012

If At First You Don't Succeed ...

Click the arrow to watch the video of the aborted COTS-2 launch attempt. This was filmed from NASA Causeway East about four miles west of Launch Complex 40. Video credit:

SpaceX was one half-second from history this morning when a faulty value on the middle of its nine Merlin engines caused the Falcon 9 engine to turn itself off.

The company issued the below press release this evening:

Update on SpaceX COTS 2 Launch

Today’s launch was aborted when the flight computer detected slightly high pressure in the engine 5 combustion chamber. We have discovered root cause and repairs are underway.

During rigorous inspections of the engine, SpaceX engineers discovered a faulty check valve on the Merlin engine. We are now in the process of replacing the failed valve. Those repairs should be complete tonight. We will continue to review data on Sunday. If things look good, we will be ready to attempt to launch on Tuesday, May 22nd at 3:44 AM Eastern.

NASA and SpaceX have constantly reminded us that this is a test flight. In that sense, the test worked because the system detected a problem with the #5 engine before launch. It appears to be a simple fix.

These engines have been lit twice now. They were lit on April 30 as part of a static test fire:

Click the arrow to watch the April 30 static test fire.

Click here for the Florida Today report earlier today on the abort.

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