SpaceX inquires Falcon 9 launch to survey second stage issue

SpaceX scoured a Falcon 9 launch attempt Thursday to assess a “slightly high” pressure reading in the rocket’s upper stage liquid oxygen tank, and authorities have rescheduled the organization’s last mission of the year for Saturday morning.

A sensor reading on the Falcon 9’s upper stage set off an “auto-abort” at T-minus 1 minute, 53 seconds, as SpaceX checked down to an arranged takeoff from the Kennedy Space Center at 9:45 a.m. EST (1445 GMT) Thursday.

The Falcon 9 launch team reset the countdown clock to protect the opportunity to attempt again to send the Falcon 9 rocket heavenward before the finish of Thursday’s three-hour launch window. Eventually, authorities chose to keep the rocket on the ground to permit more opportunities to assess the likely issue on the upper stage.

SpaceX at first expected to attempt again to launch the Falcon 9 rocket Friday, however the organization said late Thursday the mission would be rescheduled for Saturday morning to permit extra an ideal opportunity for checkouts.

A top secret payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, the U.S. government’s spy satellite agency, is mounted on top of the Falcon 9 rocket. The mission, assigned NROL-108, will be SpaceX’s 26th and last Falcon 9 flight of 2020, surpassing the organization’s past record of 21 launches in a year in 2018.

Elon Musk, SpaceX’s organizer and CEO, said engineers were evaluating a “slightly high” pressure reading in the rocket’s upper stage liquid oxygen tank.

“Standing down for today to inspect rocket,” Musk tweeted.

SpaceX brought down the Falcon 9 rocket level at pad 39A Thursday night, probably to perform inspections on the second stage.