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Falcon 1, Live launch information

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Mon Dec 19, 2005 5:44 pm
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A forum topic is available over here.
If you have more information, I don’t have posted over here, feel free to share with me in the forum.

More information will be released as seperated news items from now on.

GMT 20.49 EST 15.49 – Aborted

SpaceX posted an update on their website:

The SpaceX launch is scrubbed until early next year, as there is a structural issue with the 1st stage fuel tank that will require repair. SpaceX will provide further comment as soon as this has been carefully analyzed.

Consistent with our policy, we must be 100% green for launch with no outstanding concerns whatsoever. It is not just a matter of repairing the damage, but also understanding at a fundamental level how to ensure it never happens again. SpaceX will also do another full review of all the vehicle systems, including propulsion, structures, avionics, software and ground support systems. Therefore, we expect that the earliest that launch would occur is late January.

GMT 19.47 EST 14.47 – Aborted

No new info coming in… it may take a while before SpaceX reports more detailed information… or very soon if we’re lucky..

GMT 19.34 EST 14.34 – Aborted

First stage requires an actual repair off the pad – SpaceX.

GMT 19.25 EST 14.25 – Aborted

SpaceX: The launch is scrubbed until early next year. We have identified a structural defect on the first stage, it will need repair. Will have a release soon with more information.

Propellant being off-loaded.

The U.S. Army-run launch range is closing for the holidays on Wednesday. That pushes the next available launch opportunity to January at the earliest.

GMT 19.23 EST 14.23 – ? Aborted

SpaceX about to give some details in a few minutes. If it’s a scrub – and it sure appears to be given the way the media call was muted – then something serious has ruled out the many hours of the remaining window.

GMT 19.20 EST 14.20 – ? Aborted

SpaceX carrying on as if it’s still a go. Media asking questions as if it’s still a go, but this doesn’t look good.
SpaceX promises an update in about 5 minutes. No confirmation of an abort yet, except a small message by Kimbal Musk, Elon Musk his brother.

GMT 19.11 EST 14.11 – Aborted

Mission abort.
Source: Kimbal Musk

GMT 19.08 EST 14.08 Still holding T-Minus 15 minutes

No issues at high altitude according to SpaceX. They have limits but are no-where near them today. Waiting for a nice break in the wind.

GMT 19.00 EST 14.00 Still holding T-Minus 15 minutes

“Close to full on fuel load. Helium full at 99%, LOX boiled down to around 95%. We are on hold now at T-15.

Today’s launch window is now open.

Q: “What is likely to happen if all of the preparations are complete and there are still no-go on weather?”

A: “I think what you’ll see is that we will continue in a launch -15 minute hold. The reason T-15 minutes is critical is because that is when we pull strong-back away.” We won’t do that with strong-back in the high winds.
“We have approximately 15 minutes of additional procedures to go into, and they include pulling back strongback, having the vehicle do it’s self alignment and check, we go into a perpetual short hold to do an additional weather check at around T-10 minutes, and then we run through the console to make sure everybody is ready to go, and we start switching power on the vehicle and start doing flight termination system check. At T-3 minutes is when we enable ignition.”

GMT 18.55 EST 13.55 Still holding T-Minus 15 minutes

GMT 18.45 EST 13.45 Countdown on hold at T-Minus 15 minutes

Winds are maintaining 28 knots. This is too high and we are holding the countdown to evaluate options.

The sun rising at t-minus 15 minutes: click here

GMT 18.37 EST 13.37 – 23 minutes to go.

The folks on Kwaj. are feeling great,” says Gwynne Shotwell, the SpaceX vice president of business development. “The winds were very low this morning. So we were hoping to not have weather issues. But as long as everybody remains patient we’ll going to get this rocket to go today, hopefully.”

The first stage RP-1 tank is 90 to 95 percent full, the second stage has reached the 75 to 80 percent level, SpaceX says.

GMT 18.33 EST 13.33 – 27 minutes to go.

Kimbal Musk reports; LOX boil-off picking up

We are now getting peak winds at 28knots. This is not good.

The highest winds we want to launch in is 24 knots. The wind is erratic though. An hour ago we were at 7 knots.

15 minutes ago, with low winds (7-15 knots): click here
Current winds (20-30 knots): click here

GMT 18.30 EST 13.30 – 30 minutes to go.

The launch team is reporting winds of 24 knots. That is the upper limit allowed at launch time.

GMT 18.29 EST 13.29 – 31 minutes to go.

Fueling of both stages with RP-1 fuel is proceeding. Both tanks are nearing half-full.

GMT 18.22 EST 13.22 – 38 minutes to go.

A round of checks between the rocket and the launch range is beginning. Crews are testing the link with the C-band beacon. This system is used to track the Falcon as it flies downrange.

New webcam Picture: Click here (note, it’s from GMT 18.20 / EST 13.20)

GMT 18.20 EST 13.20 – 40 minutes to go.

Falcon has been configured for loading the first stage with its supply of RP-1 kerosene.

GMT 18.15 EST 13.15 – 45 minutes to go.

The “go” has been given to the launch team to begin pumping a highly refined kerosene fuel, called RP-1, into the Falcon rocket’s second stage. The propellant will be consumed with the liquid oxygen loaded earlier today to power the stage’s Kestrel engine.

GMT 18.10 EST 13.10 – 50 mins Gwynne Shotwell, the SpaceX vice president of business development, says everything is looking good for launch.

The rocket’s second stage liquid oxygen tank has been loaded. The first stage tank is being filled now, with 82 percent now aboard.

Kerosene fueling of both stages is coming up.

The Army-run range is experiencing a problem with one of the radar sites. However, there is another site available and this won’t be a constraint to launch, Shotwell said. (source)

GMT 18.00 EST 13.00 – 60 minutes to go; SpaceX starts providing updates to reporters around 1:30 p.m. (18.30 GMT)

LOX tanks are almost full in both stages. The boil-off is very low today. We’ve almost filled the rocket and we’ve only used one tank. On the last attempt we went through three tanks because of the high winds and heat of the day. (source)

The kwajrockets.blogspot.com webcam has been closed to the public due to the intense demand to see it. Elon Musk his brother Kimbal Musk will post screenshots as things change.

His first one: Click here.

GMT 17.45 EST 12.45 – Launch of Falcon is less than 1 hours 15 minutes away.

GMT 17.30 EST 12.30 – Stage 2 is almost completely fueled.
They are just about to start on Stage 1 (the bigger, lower part of the rocket). All systems are go. (source)

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