SpaceX was supposed to launch the last satellite of this year on Thursday with the launch of Falcon 9, but that happened to get delayed due to a pressure issue in the rocket’s oxygen tank.
At the 1 minute 45 second mark of the 9:45 a.m. EST launch, SpaceX stopped the countdown, and released a statement regarding the delay which says,
“During the countdown, the pressure was slightly high in the upper stage of the liquid oxygen tank, which caused the abort.”
However, both the Falcon 9 rocket and the NROL-108 satellite are still in good health and working fine.
SpaceX also posted the following subsequent tweet, “Standing down from today’s launch attempt of NROL-108 to take a closer look at the data; Falcon 9 and NROL-108 remain healthy. Teams are working toward a backup launch opportunity of tomorrow with a three-hour window opening at 9:00 a.m. EST.”
Now as per the tweet, the Falcon 9 was supposed to lift-off on Friday 18th December at 9 a.m. EST, but again to make sure that everything works in perfect harmony, that too has been moved to Saturday, December 19.
SpaceX mentions that this measure has been taken to “allow additional time for checkouts.” SpaceX is now targeting December 19 for the launch of the NROL-18 mission from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Florida; the time window apparently closes at 12 p.m. EST. Falcon 9 carried out SpaceX’s 19th and 20th cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station, a Starlink mission, and the SAOCOM 1B mission.
After the stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. As is the case with any other SpaceX mission, this one too will be broadcasted live, and the session will begin about 15 minutes prior to liftoff.