SpaceX aborted the planned May 10 launch of the upgraded Falcon 9 rocket just 58 seconds before liftoff, with no explanation given on the unexpected delay.
This was supposed to be the first flight of the Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket, but fortunately, SpaceX might not make us wait too long for the inaugural launch to happen.
SpaceX Rocket Launch Aborted: What Happened?
SpaceX was set to launch the Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket on the afternoon of May 10 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. All eyes were on the spacecraft because it will be the first flight of the newest version of the Falcon 9.
However, according to SpaceX, an automatic abort was triggered with just 58 seconds remaining before liftoff at 5:47 p.m. ET. The space company tried to figure out what was wrong and fix it before the launch window closed at 6:22 p.m. ET, but to no avail.
No official explanation has been given on what triggered the automatic abort. SpaceX, however, confirmed that the Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket and its payload are in good condition, which is great news to hear.
SpaceX Reschedules Block 5 Falcon 9 First Flight
With the rocket and payload intact, SpaceX will apparently try again just a day after. The Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket launch is now scheduled for May 11, with a launch window that starts at 4:14 p.m. ET and ends at 6:21 p.m. ET.
The Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket features several upgrades that include an improved heat shield, a helium tank, and retractable landing legs. Perhaps more significantly, the spacecraft incorporated several NASA safety requirements, which means that SpaceX is progressing in its plan to send humans to space.
SpaceX plans to reuse the upgraded Falcon 9 rocket as many as 10 times, compared with previous versions that only lasted two trips. The spacecraft also does not require to be refurbished in between flights, as it only needs propellant reloaded before launching again.
For its first flight, the Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket will carry the Bangabandhu-1 satellite into space. The satellite will eventually reach an orbit 22,000 miles above Earth to provide telecommunications coverage to Bangladesh. It will be the country's first communications satellite at such a high altitude.
The upcoming launch of the Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket will follow the return of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, which had its stay on the International Space Station extended by four days. The unmanned SpaceX Dragon finally returned to Earth on May 5, bringing back 4,000 pounds of cargo from the ISS.