RocketSTEM –18 December 2018
CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, FL- SpaceX engineers
scrubbed this mornings launch (Dec. 18) of a Falcon 9 rocket from the Florida Space
Coast after encountering a temperature fueling glitch in the final minutes of
the countdown – forcing a 24 hour delay from Tuesday to Wednesday, Dec. 19.
The abort occurred at the T minus 7 minute mark as teams were
loading the rockets propellants in anticipation of blastoff of the next and last SpaceX
Falcon 9 of 2018 carrying the maiden modernized and advanced GPS III SV01 satellite
for the Air Force. It had been slated for blastoff Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 9:11
a.m. EST, 14:11 GMT, from Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Air
Force Station, FL.
The 2nd stage LOX loading was just being completed and the team was
about to begin the Falcon 9 engine chill prior to launch.
Hold, Hold”, was called out to scrub the launch at about 9:29 a.m. EST.
“SpaceX team called a hold due to an out of
family reading on first stage sensors. Vehicle and payload remain healthy; next
launch attempt is tomorrow at 9:07 EST, 14:07 UTC,” SpaceX tweeted soon
The second stage of the 23 story tall rocket
had been vigorously venting liquid oxygen as normal.
Enjoy our gallery of
Space UpClose photos showing the vigorous venting at launch pad 40 as well as more
photos taken this afternoon during our media camera setup taken at pad 40 this afternoon,
was the second significant problem of the day. The first was related to weather.
The Falcon 9 launch had already been retargeted earlier this morning to a point
near the end of the launch window due to excessive ‘Upper level winds.”
The weather outlook remains quite favorable – currently
forecast as 80% GO !!
The Falcon 9 launch window lasts for 26 minutes
and extends from 9:07 a.m., 14:11 GMT, to 9:33 a.m. EST Dec. 19.
You can watch the launch on a SpaceX dedicated
webcast that starts about 15 minutes prior to the opening of the nominal
launch window at:
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket
poised at night on Dec. 17 for liftoff on GPS III SV01 mission for the US Air Force
The Falcon 9 will launch in the upgraded Block 5
version on an expendable mission where the first stage booster will not be
recovered. There are no grid fins or
landing legs installed on the 15 story tall first stage.
This is the first Block 5 model that will launch
in an expendable configuration and not be soft landed either by land or by sea.
The Air Force wants every drop of fuel available
to hurl the GPS III SV01 satellite to the most efficient orbit and maximize the
amount of on-board fuel available and minimize the satellites need to utilize
the fuel reserves for orbit raising maneuvers.
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket
poised for liftoff carrying GPS III SV01 mission for the
US Air Force
The satellite will be deployed to medium Earth
orbit approximately 1 hour and 56 minutes after liftoff.
The GPS III satellites has a wet weight of 9700
pounds (4,400 kilograms) and
is the size of an SUV.
From the SpaceX Press Kit:
The United States’ Global Positioning System
delivers positioning, navigation, and timing services supporting vital U.S. and
allied operations worldwide, and underpins critical financial, transportation,
and agricultural infrastructure that billions of users have come to depend on
The United States Air Force’s first GPS III
satellite will augment the current constellation of 31 operational GPS
satellites. This newest generation of GPS satellites is designed and built to
deliver positioning, navigation, and timing information with three times better
accuracy, and up to eight times improved antijamming capability. GPS is used by
over four billion users and supports critical missions worldwide.
GPS is a National Security Space (NSS) mission,
critical to national defense. In April 2016, SpaceX was awarded its first NSS
mission, GPS III SV01. SpaceX currently has an additional four GPS III missions
on contract, all of which will be launched on Falcon 9.
Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA,
Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports
direct from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
and Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia.
Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer –
email: ken at kenkremer.com
is a research scientist, journalist and photographer based in the KSC area.
Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events
Learn more about the upcoming/recent SpaceX Falcon 9/USAF GPS 3-01, SpaceX Falcon 9/CRS-16
launch to ISS, NASA missions, ULA Atlas
& Delta launches, SpySats and more at Ken’s upcoming outreach events at Quality Inn Kennedy Space Center, Titusville,
18: “SpaceX Dragon CRS-16
resupply launch to ISS, SpaceX Falcon GPS 3-01, SpaceX Falcon Heavy &
Falcon 9 launches, upcoming SpaceX Falcon 9 USAF GP3 3-01, NRO & USAF
Spysats, SLS, Orion, Boeing and SpaceX Commercial crew capsules, OSIRIS-Rex,
Juno at Jupiter, InSight Mars lander, Curiosity and Opportunity explore Mars,
NH at Pluto, Kuiper Belt and more,” Kennedy Space Center Quality Inn, Titusville,
FL, evenings. Photos for sale