Morning SpaceX Launch Aborted Due to Engine Problems


Last-second pressure issues in a combustion chamber prompted SpaceX to abort its rocket launch this morning.

Not today, folks.

Via the Associated Press:

A new private supply ship for the International Space Station remained stuck on the ground Saturday after rocket engine trouble led to a last-second abort of the historic flight.

All nine engines for the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket roared to life Saturday morning. But with a mere half-second remaining before liftoff, the onboard computers automatically shut everything down. So instead of blasting off on a delivery mission to the space station, the rocket stayed on its launch pad amid a plume of engine exhaust.

Tuesday will be the earliest SpaceX will be able to try again. You can watch video of the attempt here.

If you're sad about this temporary setback to efforts to privatize space travel, read our special space-themed February issue and cheer yourself back up.

NEXT: Capitalism, Creative Destruction, and the 2012 Election

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  1. Disappointing for sure, after all these years that Nasa has turned our sprace program into a joke, flying around in earth orbit. Come on SpaceX, you can do itttttt!

    Can we just take over the moon or build our own artificial satellite moon, declare it a sovereign country, and ban any progressive from ever setting foot on it?

    1. If only Newt stayed in the race… if only.

      1. Ok, let me amend my previous statement. No progressives or Newts on my new planetoid…

    2. space program you smart asses, space program…

    3. perhaps itd be useful, educational obviously, for hyper to actually study the AI robotic missions NASA has been conducting…for the last decade.

      1. o3, I don’t have to study the Mars landers to form my opinion. I think the Mars lander missions are awesome and I am really looking forward to see what the new Mars rover discovers.

        I am referring specifically to the manned space program. Get it now?

        1. i get that nasa’s moved beyond manned missions… that spaceX is using refurbished air force rockets

          1. Is there some sort of point that you’re trying to make? Or are you just tossing feces at the wall hoping that something sticks?

            1. Sounds like he is trying to make a point that manned missions are somehow old school, and that we should never try to colonize space, but just send out little toys and drive them around remotely. I don’t agree with that, at all.

          2. SpaceX also want a manned mission to Mars, Nasa will never even get out of earth orbit again. And whatever SpaceX achieves, they will do at a third of the cost. Nasa has no vision left, it is just another wasteful bureaucracy now. Private industry is the only solution.

            1. I am more excited about private mining of asteroids.

              It’s economics seem for feasible and therefor more likely to happen in my lifetime.

              But whatever the more the merrier.

          3. seriously?

            You have your head so far up government’s ass that you actively oppose privately funded manned space flight?

            1. manned space flight, private or govt, is largely obsolete

              1. Amount of money generated from Mars rover: 0

                Amount of money generated from space tourism: 0

                Which is obsolete again?

                1. greater then sign does not print

                  Amount of money generated from space tourism: greater then 0

          4. Completely false. However SpaceX did refer to data from the Apollo program when designing their rockets. Here’s a good article that has some backstory on SpaceX’s design process.

  2. Hey, it *is* rocket science!
    Anyhow, unlike ‘kaputnik’ (remember that?), it didn’t get three feet up and blow itself to smithereens.

  3. Hardly call it a setback. Last minute postponements like this happen with almost every other space launch, manned and unmanned.

  4. We should remember that the system as a whole worked. One engine was operating outside of its engineered standard and so the launcher was safely shutdown before anything bad happened.

    A big improvement on what us old Atlas watchers remember from the 50’s!

  5. The morning news shows all seemed to be enjoying this “setback” way too much.

    1. It’s not a “setback” until they vaporize a school teacher.

      1. Unless the school teacher is a liberal, then it’s a giant leap forward for all of mankind.

      2. that’s coming heroic

    2. Yah, because they are a bunch of luddites… whoa! These fat cat billionaires flying around in space when they could be helping the poor childins…

  6. Trying again…

    Go ahead and take the time to register at the Seattle Times’ site if you would like to add to comments like this:

    Something is definitely wrong when the richest country in the world has to look to the private sector to continue important space exploration because our government can’t afford it.
    I guess it’s official. National pride is dead.


    1. That is really a great point the poster makes. We will soon see Greece and France setting up colonies on Mars with their great new Socialiast space programs.

    2. You know who else had national pride?

      1. Let me take a guess here…. they had jackbooted thugs running around violating the rights of citizens, tried to tear the nation apart with class and racial warfare so they could set up a fascist regime, and were constatnly engaging in aggressive military campaigns… The USA?

        1. Ding Ding!

          In the spirit of Doc Groove you win a kewpie doll.

        2. Duh, America’s jackbooted thugs are saving the children from drugs and terrorists.

          Hitler’s jackbooted thugs were all about national pride.

          It’s all about having the right sort of jackbooted thugs.

          1. Duh, America’s jackbooted thugs are saving the children from drugs and terrorists.

            And from billionaire fat cats making more than $1,000,000, $250,000, $200,000, $100,000, $40,000 a year.

            1. Not true!

              Billionaire fat cats who complain about not being taxed enough are exempt.

    3. I wonder if there’s a connection between being the richest country in the world and having a strong private sector? Nah, just a coincidence.

      1. Ask our POTUS about that, he will explain things to you.

        1. Aww, be nice. He just wants to spread the wealth around a little.

          So hand over your wallet or the girl gets it.

      2. I’m stealing your reply.

    4. I have more national pride in private US companies doing things like this than I do in the government doing it.

      1. u mean like when boeing lockheed worked w NASA?

        1. No, bozo.

    5. Something is definitely wrong when the richest country in the world has to look to the private sector to continue important microprocessor research because our government can’t afford it.

      Something is definitely wrong when the richest country in the world has to look to the private sector to continue important genetic research because our government can’t afford it.

      Something is definitely wrong when the richest country in the world has to look to the private sector to continue important telecommunications research because our government can’t afford it.

      Something is definitely wrong when the richest country in the world has to look to the private sector to continue important medical research because our government can’t afford it.

  7. Another reason that nuclear pulse rockets are superior, the setbacks would be awesome.

    1. Set up the launch pad on the east end of the national mall, make sure that the congess critters are in session during each launch. that way if anything goes wrong, the outcome still has some good to it.

  8. Yes, because it’s clearly stupid to minimize a fuck-up by postponing the launch to fix a minor problem and solve the entire issue in little time and little cost. They should have launched, watched their rocket blow up, and then bitched about it on national TV.

    Only a fucking bureaucrat or progressive would spew this sort of retarded shit.

    1. The first thing I thought of was how for years the Challenger series had that flaw with the booster rocket insulation being a legitimate fire hazard, did nothing about it, and eventually killed astronauts, one of whom was a layman teacher named Christa McAuliffe, who became a celebrity before the launch. That fiasco was devastating to the space program.

      Now, with the Norks literally ejaculating their latest missile attempt all over the place and a laughing stock at Club Despot, I think this shows the private sector is dedicated to safe space travel and realizes the high degree of liability they have.

      The first passengers will be wealthy celeb types (and though it would be tempting to nuke them all in one place) whose demise would be really bad press and single-handedly kill off private space travel.

      I think this is a plus, and demonstrates a commitment to consistently reliable space travel, unlike say, NASA, who literally blew it.

      1. You know what would be really terrific? If private space companies establish constant Moon travel (manned), and then reach Mars before any government does. That would be made of pure, unmitigated awesome.

        1. That would be made of pure, unmitigated awesome.

          I agree. I’m not quite sure I’m ready for mutant Martian hookers with three boobs. I would take the risk and go.

        2. If? Of course private ventures will do that before governments do.

  9. The template would then be that it would not have been possible without NASA paving the way, similar to a speech given by a nice Indian lady in MA

    1. She’s a Native American not Indian you troglodyte.

      I bet you’ve never even had Cherokee crab dip before, you uncultured oaf!

      1. Is it a STD? Oh… dip not drip.

        1. I think if you use Miracle Whip in place of mayo it’s medically considered an STD.

          Doc Groov, can we get a confirmation on this?

          1. Use of Miracle Whip is proof of mental retardation via Mad Cow disease. STD’s are the least of your concern here.

        2. Truly, she is a dip, but not the sort you have with your crackers.

  10. From an Elon Musk tweet, they found the source of the problem.

  11. I’m all for SpaceX and Falcon, rah-rah. But fundamentally speaking, rockets with nine engines are pushing how many turbo-sets you can have going – with all those vibrations and sound-pressure – without hiccups. Just one of those turbos burp and its all fucking over shut-down sequence or not.

    They’re going to lose a couple of the big Falcons working the bugs out. Need to be careful with expectations for the hyper-backlash that will come from gobber-gobberment types when the Dragon-canister full of peeps cooks off.

    1. Just one of those turbos burp and its all fucking over shut-down sequence or not.

      That does not seem to be the case at all.

      Looks like it would have made orbit just fine but it would not have made it to its objective.

      No one dies…the ISS just doesn’t get its toilet paper.

      1. I meant all that in a future tense, but sure.

    2. isn’t that what engine tests are for?

  12. I take this as a sign of success.

    How many launch vehicles did NASA blowup on the pad or shortly after liftoff?

    Proper functioning of safety systems is a good sign.

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