Florida Space Coast Afflicted by ‘Scrubitis’ with Endless Scrubs after 2 Last Moment Aborts by ULA and SpaceX Just 9 Hours Apart: Photos

Florida Space Coast Afflicted by ‘Scrubitis’ with Endless Scrubs as ULA and SpaceX Abort Launches Just 9 Hours Apart: Photos
ULA Delta IV Heavy launch scrubbed of NROL-44 spysat to orbit for the NRO aborted automatically moments before planned liftoff 11;54 a.m. ET Sept. 30, 2020 from Space Launch Complex-37 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Hydrogen burn off unit flare at left. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER/CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, FL – The Florida Space Coast continues to be afflicted by a possibly unprecedentedly bad case of ‘scrubitis’ – with near endless rocket scrubs for America’s two premier rocket makers United Launch Alliance (ULA) and SpaceX aborting 2 launches moments before liftoff today just over 9 hours apart – that certainly harkens back to the repetitive time-loop dream of the hit movie ‘Groundhog Day’

Hopes were high Wednesday as the dual blastoffs approached. But it was not to be – even though the regional weather had improved significantly.

Just seconds before liftoff the countdowns were aborted first for a ULA Delta IV Heavy at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station just before midnight and then second for a SpaceX Falcon 9 at the Kennedy Space Center a few miles north at breakfast time this Thursday morning on the first day of October

Following multiple weather postponements and continuing fixes to ground systems such as the swing arm at pad 37 by ULA  several times this week both firms were set to ne again try and takeflight  with 3 launches in 2 days involving military and commercials satellites.

With all systems seemingly GO ULA was counting down until an automatic scrub was called at T Minus 7 seconds in the dead of night – because of a ‘sensor issue’ detected by by terminal countdown sequencer rack TCSR.

“The launch of a ULA #DeltaIVHeavy carrying the #NROL44 mission for the @NatReconOfc was scrubbed today when the terminal countdown sequencer rack (TCSR) identified an unexpected condition prior to the engine start sequence,” ULA tweeted.

“The TCSR, which controls the final 10 seconds of the countdown, performed as intended and safely initiated a hold at T-minus seven seconds. The team is currently reviewing all data and will determine the path forward.”

A new launch target date is TBD.

Stunning pre-sunrise but post-abort scene of ULA Delta IV Heavy still sitting atop Space Launch Complex-37 with top secret NROL-44 spysat after scrub automatically called at T Minus 7 seconds for a ‘sensor issue’ by terminal countdown sequencer rack TCSR on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station- before planned liftoff 11;54 a.m. ET Sept. 30, 2020 . 1st of 2 last second Space Coast rocket scrubs today by ULA and SpaceX 9 h apart Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

“Mission Director Col. Chad Davis has called a scrub. ULA Launch Director Lou Mangieri has relayed the decision to the launch team that we will not continue with launch operations tonight,” ULA tweeted.

“The Terminal Countdown Sequencer Rack (TCSR) called a hold at T-minus 7 seconds. TCSR controls the final 10 seconds of the #DeltaIVHeavy countdown. The safety system worked as intended to stop the countdown if a problem is detected.”

The Hydrogen Burn off units mounted on the pad to burn excess hydrogen offered up a very dramatic flare of burning hydrogen during the abort sequence- see my lead photo.

Liftoff of the 23-story tall triple stick United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket on the NROL-44 intelligence gathering mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) had been re-slated for 11:54 p.m. EDT (0358 GMT) Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2020 from seaside Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida – following the earlier scrubs for the hot fire abort and faulty ground launch pneumatic systems and the swing arm problem as well as weather.

“We experienced an automated abort because a sensor reported a fault. Automated Safety System operated as intended. Bird and payload are safe and unharmed. Engine ROFI ignitors were not fired. Turbo pumps were not spun up. Mission safety first…” ULA CEO Tory Bruno explained by tweet.

“The launch table ROFIs ignited at T-14.5 seconds, the main combustion chamber (engine ROFIs) did not ignite,” ULA explained via tweet.

SpaceX Falcon 9 2nd stage vents LOX and rain birds fire cooling water moments prior to ground technical issue scrub before planned launch at 9:17 a.m. ET Oct. 1, 2020 – as bird observes as seen from at KSC LC-39 Press Site for 13th Starlink comsat launch. Rocket stands vertical at Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. NASA Worm logo still featured on side of recycled Falcon 9 booster B1058.3 that previously flew on Demo-2 carrying NASA astronauts Behnken and Hurley to ISS in May 2020. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

A few hours later in daylight the scene repeated with all seemingly GO and the rocket venting LOX SpaceX was counting down until an automatic scrub was called at T Minus 18 seconds – due to a faulty sensor reading.

“Standing down from today’s Starlink mission due to an out of family ground system sensor reading; will announce a new target launch date once confirmed on the Range,” SpaceX tweeted

A new launch target date is TBD

 

Liftoff of the 23 story tall single stick recycled SpaceX Falcon 9 on the 13th  mission carrying Starlink broadband internet satellites was re-slated for 9:17 a.m. EDT Thursday morning, Oct. 1 from Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

SpaceX Falcon 9 moments prior to ground technical issue scrub before planned launch at 9:17 a.m. ET Oct. 1, 2020 – as bird observes as seen from at KSC LC-39 Press Site for 13th Starlink comsat launch. Rocket stands vertical at Launch Complex-39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. NASA Worm logo still featured on side of recycled Falcon 9 booster B1058.3 that previously flew on Demo-2 carrying NASA astronauts Behnken and Hurley to ISS in May 2020. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Enjoy our Space UpClose gallery of images from the pad and the launch attempts on base from the team of Ken Kremer and Jean Wright.

New target launch dates have not yet been announced.

Stay tuned for further news and scrubs especially due to weather and schedule changes

Torrential rains, lightning and thunderstorms inundated Central Florida periodically over the weekend and this week as the multiple storm fronts moved in and out.

As a result, what was the third launch of the bunch of a GPS navigation satellite for the U.S. Space Force was also delayed several times – now to Friday evening, Oct. 2.

SpaceX Falcon 9 raised at Space Launch Complex 40 for launch of GPSIIISV04 navigation satellite for U.S. Space Force on Oct. 2, 2020. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

The weather outlook is decent for the GPS launch with a forecast of 70% GO at launch time – as of this moment.

SpaceX will broadcast both their 2 Falcon 9  launches live starting about 15 minutes before planned liftoff time:

spacex.com/launches

 

Both the NROL 44 and GPS satellite launches are for the US military

GPS serves a broad array of both civilian and military functions.

Thus SpaceX will launch the fourth in a series of next generation GPS satellites on a newly manufactured Falcon 9 on Friday evening Oct 2 at 9:43 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex-40 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, FL.

The launch window for the GPSIII SV04 mission for the U.S. Space Force extends 15 minutes until 9:58 p.m. ET.

“GPS III SV04 will join the current 31-satellite operational constellation to continue to provide the gold standard in positioning, navigation, and timing services for more than four billion users worldwide,” says the U.S. Space and Missile Command.

SpaceX will attempt to recover both Falcon 9 boosters on their 2 droneships

Post-abort scene of ULA Delta IV Heavy still sitting atop Space Launch Complex-37 with top secret NROL-44 spysat after scrub automatically called at T Minus 7 seconds for a ‘sensor issue’ by terminal countdown sequencer rack TCSR on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station – before planned liftoff 11;54 a.m. ET Sept. 30, 2020. 1st of 2 last second Space Coast rocket scrubs today by ULA and SpaceX 9 h apart Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

Watch my commentary at WFTV Channel 9 ABC TV News Orland in this Sept. 25/26 report about 3 upcoming Space Coast launches in 3 days by ULA and SpaceX

https://www.wftv.com/news/local/brevard-county/space-coast-could-see-three-rocket-launches-three-days/KBPD2XR4YZGJFBXCLXBG3VSK7Y/

Dr. Ken Kremer of Space UpClose interview with WFTV Ch 9 ABC TV News Orlando on Sept. 25, 2020 discusses 3 upcoming back to back rocket launches from Florida Space Coast

Also Fox 35 TV News Orlando on Sep 28/29 about the impact of scheduling so many back to launches and impact of repeated launch scrubs.

Watch my live interview discussion of current space missions and launches on Sept. 18 edition of  ‘Stay Curious’ daily space show presented by the American Space Museum, Titusville, FL.

Space Journalist Dr. Ken Kremer updates "Stay Curious" on space news

Our 25th "Stay Curious" week ends with space journalist Dr. Ken Kremer joining MarQ & Marty to update you on the lastest news from the Space Coast…all to bridge the space between us.

Posted by American Space Museum & Space Walk of Fame on Friday, September 18, 2020

Watch Ken’s continuing reports about Starlink, Commercial Crew and Artemis and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Demo-2, Starlink, X-37B, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com

Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
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Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events

Please consider supporting Ken’s work by donating at Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/kenkremer

 

Post-abort scene of ULA Delta IV Heavy still sitting atop Space Launch Complex-37 with top secret NROL-44 spysat after scrub automatically called at T Minus 7 seconds for a ‘sensor issue’ by terminal countdown sequencer rack TCSR on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station – before planned liftoff 11;54 a.m. ET Sept. 30, 2020. 1st of 2 last second Space Coast rocket scrubs today by ULA and SpaceX 9 h apart Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

 

 

Post-abort scene of ULA Delta IV Heavy still sitting atop Space Launch Complex-37 with top secret NROL-44 spysat after scrub automatically called at T Minus 7 seconds for a ‘sensor issue’ by terminal countdown sequencer rack TCSR on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station – before planned liftoff 11;54 a.m. ET Sept. 30, 2020. 1st of 2 last second Space Coast rocket scrubs today by ULA and SpaceX 9 h apart Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com
Streakless streak shot prior to Delta IV Heavy scrub on from Space Launch Complex-37 on 30 Sep 2020. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com/spaceupclose.com

 

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Ken Kremer

Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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