SpaceX Launch Aborted at last moment, No Launching TuesdayQuite literally with less than a second on the clock, with the engines ignited, SpaceX’s historic Dragon mission was delayed. The rocket received a terminal shutdown condition, one which caused the onboard flight computer to shut down the rocket. The abortion happened at T minus .5 seconds.
Apparently engine number 5 was displaying excessive pressure in the combustion chamber, something that could cause the rocket to explode. Which is generally not a good thing. The SpaceX team is going prepping for the next launch window, which will be this Tuesday, at 3:44 AM.
As disappointing as this is, flight delays frequently happen with rockets. This is rocket science after all. We just feel this delay a bit more because, well, all eyes are on SpaceX at the moment. SpaceX’s computers are probably set to be conservative with safety, opting to abort a launch at the slightest provacation rather than risking a launch. Because while the launcher is cheaper than most competing teechnologies, SpaceX is fighting an uphill battle for validity. The company can’t just match the launch record of NASA and other space agencies; they have to better it if they hope to be seen as a valid option.
There is a lot riding on this launch. SpaceX has invested millions into it, and the launch will determine the timetable for manned spaceflight aboard the Dragon. This test will be crucial to convince NASA that the Dragon is in fact capable of transporting astronauts to the ISS.
And if they can prove that, we will see enormous savings on launch costs. According to SpaceX’s website, the Falcon 9 launches to orbit for $56 million. The Dragon can hold 7 people, but you should factor in extra costs into the equation. Let’s assume that launching crew doubles the cost of the craft, to $112 million. That would make the price per person $16 million to orbit. Meanwhile, the Soyuz costs $65 million per person.
But it all depends on SpaceX proving that its technologies are safe and effective.