About Half An Hour Till Launch

Clark has a bunch of links, including webcasts, for the SpaceX launch, now scheduled for 11:20 AM Eastern. The last text I got from Florida Today indicates that weather is green, but there are some cumulus building to the west (typical for this time of year, which is one of the reasons the Cape actually isn’t that great a location for a launch site).

[Update a few minutes later]

They’re holding at T minus 15 minutes. Not clear what they’re waiting for to resume the count. The SpaceX webcast is here.

OK, just heard that it’s a range hold while they verify telemetry.

[Update at 12:06 PM EDT]

Still on a range hold. The webcast at SpaceX has dropped off. They still have three hours of window today.

[Update at 12:20 PM EDT]

I don’t know what’s happened to the SpaceX webcast, but SpaceFlightNow is covering it, with Miles O’Brien.


[Update at 12:45 PM EDT]

We seem to be making negative progress. I just got a text that says the clock has been reset to T minus 27:30, with no new launch time. So we’re at least a half hour away. But at least the radar’s looking OK. But that doesn’t show anvil clouds.

[Update at 1 PM EDT]

OK, the count is now back at T minus 29, but they’re also saying there may be a boat in the box. I’ve never understood why we allow that to hold a launch. It’s just Darwin in action, and it allows protesters to disrupt launches.

OK, it looks like the hold is back to 15.

[Update at 1:15 PM EDT]

OK, they’ve picked up the count, with a launch at 1:30.

[Update at 1:30 PM]

Abort prior to ignition. They still have an hour and a half to recycle, if they figure out why.

[Update at 13:41 EDT]

SpaceX is saying that it was a shutdown right after ignition. No word yet on the possibilities of recycling today. They probably won’t know until they know what the problem was.

[Update a few minutes later]

Mission control is reporting that there was an “out-of-limit start-up parameter.” That could be lots of things. How do they solve it? How far out of limit was it? Do they widen the limits a little, or what? If it’s an actual hardware problem, I don’t see how they go today. They have less than an hour left.

[Update at 14:30 EDT]

They only have about fifteen minutes left to restart the count.

[Update a couple minutes later]

They’re doing a poll.

OK, clear to go. 2:45 attempt. This will be the last one today.

[Update a few minutes before launch]

They’re saying that they’re accepting whatever the parameter issue was.

[Update shortly after liftoff]

Looking good so far less than a minute in.

OK, just went through Max Q.

It’s interesting to see the “corner” on the rocket exhaust from the square cluster configuration.

OK, they just staged. Looked clean to me, and they have a second-stage ignition.

41 thoughts on “About Half An Hour Till Launch”

  1. I had the webcast up, watching the hold, and then some documentary stuff from SpaceX, but it started slowing down, and it was just a hold, so I closed the window. And now, it appears that the webcast server is all tapped out on bandwidth, because I can’t get back on.

    I still remember the X-Prize webcast, and watching it at work, so hopefully I can get back on and actually see something happen!

  2. It’s been interesting reading around this morning. I like to watch a rocket launch as much as the next guy, but I’m not sure I grasp why some people think so much is riding on this one. It’s a test flight. Am I missing something?

  3. There shouldn’t be so much riding on it, but the Ares defenders have made SpaceX the poster boy for commercial space, and if it’s not successful, they’ll loudly leap on it as “proof” that it’s not ready for prime time, regardless of how imbecilic a position that is.

  4. The arm is moving up into position, but I don’t know if that indicates that they’re going to scrub, or launch.

    Regardless, as Rand said, my interest is in watching the rocket launch (not much of that happening here in Iowa yet, until we build the shipyards in Riverside), and it will be nice to see a successful test, to help quell the nay-sayers, even if it’s *just* a test.

  5. Is it just me, or are the weather rules for launches — all launches — really super conservative?

    “Ohmigod, there’s a cloud!”

    “Cloud! Where!?”

    “Over there, look — it’s about twenty miles away is all. Omigod, call the tower. We gotta scrub. SCRUB!!!!111eleventy11!1”

    Seriously — were the same kind of rules in effect back in the early NASA days? Because I have the impression that we were a little more cowboy back then. Truth or hype?

  6. One of the current status updates on the SpaceX site seems to indicate that the downrange safe zone may not be clear, which is the cause of the current hold.

    Of course, by the time that’s resolved, another cloud might pop up.

    As Rand alluded to, if people didn’t launch out of pop-up storm country, they wouldn’t have such problems…

  7. were the same kind of rules in effect back in the early NASA days? Because I have the impression that we were a little more cowboy back then. Truth or hype?

    They were looser then. They tightened up after we almost lost Apollo XII, when it was struck by lightning during ascent. The crew had to reboot the flight computer.

  8. According to Spaceflightnow, there was a last second abort. Audio/video problems are preventing realtime updates. Anyone have any info?

  9. Webcast died. Spaceflight now says Spacex will save the vehicle and reset the countdown to T-15:00

  10. Gawd, these streams are awful. Please, someone ask Elon to recognize the PR necessity of shelling out for decent media servers. Maybe he has friends at Google who could host the stream or something. The spaceflightnow feed is like watching Wheel of Fortune:

    “and then, about a minute into the burn, they plan to–”

    spin spin spin spin spin spin spin spin

    “when a corrosion event caused an oxygen leak, oxygen leak caused–”


    spin spin spin spin spin spin spin spin

    “four… three… two…”


    spin spin spin spin spin spin spin spin

    Argh! Can someone please explain to me WTH just happened?

  11. I dunno what all the complaints about the SpaceX webstream are about. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve had a rock solid stream the whole time.

    There was an abort maybe half a second after they started the first stage motors. You could hear a burst of gas, but no ignition roar, and then everything just stopped. So basically where was a whooshing noise at T-0 followed by someone saying there was an abort.

  12. Keeping my fingers crossed. Only managed to start watching the webcast a couple of minutes ago.

  13. Hope they can pull this off; seems to me a successful launch less than 2 hours after a post-ignition abort would be quite an accomplishment.

  14. WOOHOO!!! Way to go, SpaceX and thanks for letting the public watch. (I finally got the feed to work about an hour ago by switching the bitgravity player to low quality.)

  15. My above post should have read:

    And now a word from the SpaceX critics:

    (insert sound of crickets here)

  16. Damn, looks like nominal-nominal-nominal. Congratulations Elon and SpaceX. Absolutely awesome.

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