Everything was looking good for a launch today until at around T-17 minutes the 1st stage (Super Heavy booster) team reported a pressurization issue.
Around T-9 minutes, the Starship flight director called off today’s launch attempt (a scrub). However, the SpaceX team continued the countdown to T-40 seconds to convert today’s launch into a wet dress rehearsal (WDR) to collect as much data as possible for the next launch attempt.
According to the SpaceX engineers conducting the live stream of the event, it will take at least 48 hours to recycle the launch system.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk also confirmed today’s Starship scrub via an official tweet. “A pressurant valve appears to be frozen, so unless it starts operating soon, no launch today,” he tweeted.
“Learned a lot today, now offloading propellant, retrying in a few days,” Musk further stated.
SpaceX also shared today’s Starship flight cancelation from the company’s official Twitter account. “Standing down from today’s flight test attempt; team is working towards next available opportunity,” SpaceX tweeted about the scrubbed status of the Starship orbital flight test (OFT).
SpaceX continued loading propellant into Starship 1st stage till T-3 minutes. A total of 10 million pounds of liquid methane (the fuel) and liquid oxygen (oxidizer) was loaded into Starship 1st and 2nd stages along with the Starship header tanks.
There were no landing legs attached to both Starship 24 or Super Heavy Booster 7 for today’s launch because they were intended for a hard landing in the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico respectively.
Today’s scheduled orbital flight test came after a long list of tests that Starship and Super Heavy have been going through. The more recent and intense one was the 33-engine static fire (finally done with 31 engines due to technical issues).
During the live stream, SpaceX shared some amazing pictures of the Raptor engines installed both on the 1st and 2nd stage of Starship. The view of the 33 engines from the bottom of the mounted Super Heavy Booster 7 rocket is particularly stunning to watch.
Out of these 33 Raptor engines, 20 are installed in the outer ring. The rest of the 13 in the center are gimballing engines that help with the orientation of the Super Heavy booster on its return to Earth from orbit.
Finally, SpaceX had a ton of learning from today’s launch attempt. Hopefully, we will have the news of another Starship launch attempt in the next few days, so stay tuned.
However, a scrub is always better than a RUD (rapid unscheduled disassembly). Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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