SpaceX Aims for Thanksgiving Day Launch

Falcon 9 V1.1 Waits for its Moment  Credit S. Money

Falcon 9 V1.1 Waits for its Moment
Credit S. Money

After a challenging day on Monday, November 25th, which saw three different holds in the effort to launch the first Falcon 9 v1.1 out of Cape Canaveral, SpaceX is set to try again on Thanksgiving day.

The initial launch attempt, which took place at dusk with brisk winds from the East and under gloomy, mostly overcast skies, first ran into difficulty when a hold at T-13 minutes was extended to troubleshoot a first stage liquid oxygen vent valve.  Once the countdown resumed, a new problem cropped up at T- 6 minutes 32 seconds, as engineers worked an issue with the switchover from ground to vehicle power supply.  The countdown started back once again, but with the launch window rapidly closing, the call came out “hold, hold , hold”  with less than four minutes remaining in the countdown.  This time, according to a statement from  SpaceX, the problem was again with the first liquid oxygen system.  The launch window did not allow for an additional attempt that evening.  Even after the launch was scrubbed, the day’s challenges kept coming when the launch gantry snagged an umbilical line providing fresh air to the SES satellite housed aboard.

Even this guy seemed particularly unhappy

ses launch 071

According to SpaceNews, the FAA nixed SpaceX requests for follow-up launch attempts on either Tuesday or Wednesday due to the potential impact of temporary air restrictions on the two busy flight days prior to Thanksgiving.  That left Thanksgiving as the first available day to make a new launch attempt, this one to take place in a window beginning at 5:28 p.m., one minute later than the previous window.

After a challenging first part of the week which also saw a pair of over pressurized nitrogen tanks explode (no one was harmed) at the company’s McGregor, TX development facility on Tuesday,    SpaceX and SES are likely hoping that the strong winds blowing a cold front into central Florida on the eve of Thanksgiving will also clear away the difficulties encountered on Monday and make way for flawless countdown and launch.  As for the rest of the United States, with the usual slate of Thanksgiving day football games a little less than scintillating, and the SES launch window opening up a little over an hour after kickoff between the 4-7 Raiders and the 6-5 Cowboys, perhaps a launch may be just the right distraction when the relatives stay too long.

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1 Comment on "SpaceX Aims for Thanksgiving Day Launch"

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  1. Another fun and informative read. Thank you, Stewart!

    Since my extended family will be here on Sunday for a Thanksgiving dinner (unconventionality our specialty) at around 4:00, I’m hoping the NE Patriot game doesn’t go into overtime.

    I wouldn’t miss tomorrow’s scheduled launch for anything!

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