Update: Launch was aborted 48 seconds before ignition.
SpaceX planned to send a Falcon 9 rocket to its first-ever geostationary transfer mission today, and the company broadcasted the launch live right here:
However, after some initial problems — “unexpected readings with the first stage liquid oxygen system” — and then getting the launch back on track, SpaceX aborted the launch with just 48 seconds left before ignition. The rocket was to take off from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Elon Musk said a second abort would likely require a full restart and launch again in some time:
If launch aborts, we will bring the rocket down for engine inspection, so probably a few days before next attempt
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 28, 2013
On the webcast, a SpaceX official confirmed that the rocket would be taken down and pulled inside, and engineers would examine it for problems.
The company is launching a 3,138 kg (6,918 lbs) communications satellite for South-east Asia and the Asia Pacific regions, which will provide Ku- and Ka-band coverage. The launch will be Space-X’s most challenging ever, the company said, as it will be sending the satellite 80,000 kilometers away from earth, from which the satellite itself will maneuver to a geosynchronous orbit 50,000 kilometers lower.
The Falcon 9 rocket is 60 percent more powerful than earlier versions and is potentially reusable, as the vehicle has the capability to splash down gently in the ocean — or even potentially land on its tail. The new Falcon has over 1 million pounds of thrust, enough, CEO Elon Musk says, to “lift a skyscraper.”