SpaceX Aborts The Launch Of Its First ‘Block 5’ Falcon 9 Rocket One Minute Before Liftoff

The upgraded Falcon 9 rocket is now set to launch today, at 4:14 p.m. EDT (20:14 UTC).

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk speaks at a news conference after the Falcon 9 heavy rocket launch on February 6.
John Raoux / AP Images

The upgraded Falcon 9 rocket is now set to launch today, at 4:14 p.m. EDT (20:14 UTC).

Elon Musk will have to wait for at least another day to see his company’s newest Falcon 9 rocket soar to the sky. According to Space.com, SpaceX was forced to push back the launch of its first-ever “Block 5” rocket after an automatic abort was triggered 58 seconds before liftoff.

The company was set to debut the “Block 5” — a new and upgraded Falcon 9 rocket, designed to take reusability to new heights — yesterday afternoon (May 10) at 5:47 p.m. EDT (21:47 GMT), from the same historic Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

However, the automatic abort bungled the much-awaited event. The company didn’t disclose what caused the ground system to automatically abort the launch, Space.com reports.

Although SpaceX strived to diagnose and fix the issue as fast as possible, it ended up missing the short May 10 launch window, which closed at 6:22 p.m. EDT (22:22 GMT).

“Standing down today due to a standard ground system auto abort at T-1 minute,” Musk’s company announced on Twitter.

SpaceX noted that both the upgraded Falcon 9 rocket and its payload, the Bangabandhu-1 communications satellite, “are in good health.”

As per the Twitter update, a new launch window is being targeted for today (May 11) at 4:14 p.m. EDT (20:14 UTC).

This backup launch opportunity allows for more than three extra hours compared with yesterday’s launch window and closes at 8:14 p.m. EDT (00:14 UTC), shows a SpaceX news release.

If another unexpected problem should arise, the company is prepared for a May 12 launch of the “Block 5” Falcon 9 rocket. The four-hour launch window targeted for tomorrow starts at 2:21 p.m. EDT (18:21 UTC).

To watch SpaceX’s second attempt of launching its newest version of the Falcon 9 rocket, tune in on the Bangabandhu-1 mission’s website. The launch will be followed by an attempt to land the “Block 5” booster on a SpaceX drone ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

The upgraded “Block 5” rocket booster has a number of substantial advantages over the previous Falcon 9 versions and is designed to fly 10 or more times without being refurbished between launch and landing. At the same time, it’s capable of pulling off 100 or more flights with only some minor maintenance.

The mission’s goal is to launch into orbit the Bangabandhu Satellite-1, which will become Bangladesh’s first communications satellite and provide services for South Asia.