No Happy Spacegiving for SES

SpaceX again scrubbed a planned launch of SES-8 on the evening of Thanksgiving Day, November 28th in what is turning out to be a nail-biting exercise and far from stress-free for all involved.

SpaceX also cancelled a launch for the satellite three days earlier on November 25th. The blame was placed on a triple set of problems, initially at 13 minutes prior to launch a relief valve associated with the rocket’s liquid oxygen was causing a headache. Then a few minutes later it was a minor electrical glitch, but both were discounted and the count-down continued.

Then the liquid oxygen valve again registered a problem, so the launch was abandoned.  “We observed unexpected readings with the first stage liquid oxygen system, so we decided to investigate,” was the short explanation provided by SpaceX in a statement, with SpaceX founder Elon Musk adding that it was pressure fluctuations in the first stage’s oxidizer tank.

The Thanksgiving Day launch was cancelled at 6.44 Florida time (and almost an hour after the launch window opened at 5.39pm) when an engine problem was suspected, and the launch scrubbed just seconds prior to launch.  The company, in a statement, said the SpaceX team was taking “the rocket down to take a closer look at the engines. Likely a few days before next attempt”.

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