Falcon 9 v1.1 successfully lofts SES-8 in milestone launch

September 10, 2015 – 10:28 pm

Z5SpaceX launched their Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket on Tuesday, ahead of successfully lofting the SES-8 satellite into its Geostationary Transfer Orbit. In what was the debut of SpaceX’s upgraded Falcon 9 rocket from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral, the third launch attempt enjoyed a smooth countdown, launching at the start of the launch window at 17:41 local time.



SpaceX’s Falcon 9 v.1.1 rocket scrubbed for the second time during its Thanksgiving launch attempt. The countdown suffered from two holds during its available launch window.

Initial information noted hold one (an abort at ignition) was caused by low ramp of up thrust on Merlin 1D engines, as the countdown was at around T-1 second.Falcon 1 Flight 2 Following a recycled countdown, hold two was called by the Prop console just after T-60 seconds, as the team ran out of time to be fully confident with their review of the engines after the first abort.

The issue with hold one was related to the ground side TEA-TEB, which uses a triethylaluminum-triethylborane mixture as a first-stage ignitor. Oxygen had apparently contaminated the mix, causing the issue.

The vehicle has had its engines inspected, with the next launch originally classed as no sooner than “a few days time” (aligned to Saturday). However, L2 information noted the next attempt would be NET (No Earlier Than) Monday, later confirmed by SpaceX, allowing for the cleaning of the gas generator turbines on the engine set.

Unreleased image of Dragon capture via L2That has since been completed, along with the replacement of gas generator hardware on Engine 9 (center engine), which was seen as likely to allow for the next attempt to take place at the start of the week.

However, per L2 information – later made official by SpaceX – the teams were informed that due to ongoing review work relating to the engines, and to a lesser extent concerns over the weather during the window, the company sent out notice that they would not be pressing ahead with a launch on Monday.

With the next opportunity – on Tuesday – secured with the Eastern Range, improved weather conditions are expected throughout the launch window. SpaceX have also secured a backup opportunity on Wednesday, should it have been required, which – in the end – it wasn’t, following the launch at 17:41 local time.

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Source: www.nasaspaceflight.com

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