SpaceX Launch Aborted After Boat Gets in the Way


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SpaceX had to abort a potentially historical rocket launch on Sunday. This was due to a ship being in the way and related setbacks.

The company and CEO Elon Musk tweet about the issues in real time:

This was the third time SpaceX has attempted its second launch of 2016. The rocket was to put the SES-9 satellite into orbit. From the SES website:

Scheduled for launch in 2016, SES-9 will be positioned at the orbital slot of 108.2° E and provide incremental as well as replacement capacity to the well established slot over Asia, where it will be co-located with the existing satellites. The satellite will expand SES’s capability to provide DTH broadcasting and other communications services in Northeast Asia, South Asia & Indonesia, as well as maritime communications for vessels in the Indian Ocean.

But there's another part of the launch that could have historical significance.

As Jessica Orwig explains, "The more dramatic, secondary goal will be what happens about 10 minutes after lift-off. That's when the rocket's first stage will turn around and use GPS tracking to guide itself onto SpaceX's floating ocean platform called 'Of Course I Still Love You.' The platform will be floating about 400 miles off Florida's coast. If SpaceX succeeds, it will be the first successful rocket landing on board an ocean platform in history."

In a mission overview, SpaceX says that given the mission's unique GTO profile, a successful landing is not expected.