SpaceX halts rocket launch at the last second

"There are a thousand ways a launch can go wrong and only one way it can go right," a company supervisor said.
IMage: A Falcon 9 rocket before a failed launch in Florida on March 15, 2020.
A Falcon 9 rocket before a failed launch at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday, March 15, 2020.SpaceX

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By Tim Stelloh

SpaceX aborted a rocket launch Sunday after it experienced an engine power problem just before liftoff, the company said.

In a statement, SpaceX said a standard "auto-abort" on its Falcon 9 rocket was triggered because of "out of family data" during an engine power check.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for clarification, but during a livestream of the attempted launch, a company supervisor described the problem as a "condition regarding engine power."

"There are a thousand ways a launch can go wrong and only one way it can go right," said the supervisor, Michael Andrews. "Given that, we are overly cautious on the ground, and if the team or the vehicle sees anything even slightly off, we'll stop the countdown."

Andrews added that the rocket appeared to be in good health.

The mission was halted after the countdown ended and the woman announcing the launch said "liftoff."

"Disregard," she added a moment later. "We have an abort."

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The launch, from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, has not been rescheduled.

The mission was to have been the sixth launch of Starlink satellites, which the company says will bring high-performance broadband internet to underserved areas.