SpaceX was supposed to launch a rocket into space today, but it didn’t after Elon Musk said that an aircraft entered restricted airspace. The decision to hold the launch was made with T-11 seconds frozen on the clock.
The Falcon 9 rocket, called Transporter-2, was supposed to take 88 different satellites — some for the U.S. government, others for private companies — into orbit, in what is a line of SpaceX’s business. Except now the launch attempt has been delayed until Wednesday after the aircraft mishap Tuesday.
The action starts around the 14:00 of the video below, when, at around t-58 seconds you can hear cheers as the flight computer starts up. But then someone can be heard on the radio saying that the range is a “no-go,” to which the SpaceX host seems unaware. With less than 20 seconds left, the same person on the radio repeats “no-go” and the coundown clock is held.
The SpaceX host eventually returns to the screen and says that they are done for the day and will try again tomorrow.
The host seems a bit sheepish, probably because having Elon Musk as your CEO means that everyone who works for SpaceX must project the same cheerful overconfidence. Still, this all strikes me as minor given that rocketry is unbelievably complex and what tripped up SpaceX today was not their technology but something out of its control.
Musk wasn’t very happy about it in any case, or maybe he was, as the launch hiccup gave him a chance to hit out on one of his favorite subjects, about how government regulation is to blame for the world’s ills.
It is true that there is simply no way that humanity can become a spacefaring civilization if rocket launches face minor delays, as minor delays were the downfall of all the spacefaring civilizations before us.