Editor’s note: The EST (0700 GMT) was updated at 2 a.m. Saturday with a delay.
SpaceX on Thursday wiped out a Falcon 9 launch attempt to estimate a “slightly higher” pressure reading in the rocket’s top-level liquid oxygen tank, and officials reconsidered the company’s final mission Saturday morning.
A sensor reading on the upper platform of the Balkan 9 triggered an “automatic shutdown” of minus 1 minute, 53 seconds, from SpaceX Kennedy Space Center at 9:45 a.m. Thursday EST (1445 GMT).
The Falcon 9 launch pad resets the countdown clock, securing the opportunity to try again to launch the Falcon 9 rocket into the sky before the end of the three-hour missile window on Thursday. In the end, the authorities decided to put the rocket on the ground to allow more time to assess the problem that could arise on the upper platform.
SpaceX initially intended to re-launch the Falcon 9 rocket on Friday, but the company said it would reschedule Saturday morning to allow more time for updates later Thursday.
A secret payload for the National Reassessment Office, the US government’s spy satellite agency, is mounted on top of the Falcon 9 rocket. Named NROL-108, the mission will be SpaceX’s 26th and final Falcon 9 aircraft in 2020, surpassing the company’s previous record of 21 launches a year in 2018.
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Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX, said engineers were estimating “slightly higher” pressure readings in the rocket’s top-level liquid oxygen tank.
“Stand today to inspect the rocket,” Musk tweeted.
SpaceX on Thursday evening dropped the Falcon 9 rocket horizontally at Pad 39A, which will carry out probes in the second phase.
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