Saturday, November 26, 2005

Post-Launch Summary

It is a frustrating day, but in truth, the chance of a brand new rocket launching from a brand new launch pad on its first try was exciting, but unlikely.

Here's the summary of the cause of the abort from Elon:

"What happened was that an auxiliary liquid oxygen (LOX) fill tank had a manual vent valve incorrectly set to vent. The time it took to correct the problem resulted in significant LOX boil off and loss of helium, and it was the latter that caused the launch abort. LOX is used to chill the helium bottles, so we lose helium if there is no LOX to cool the bottles.

Although we were eventually able to refill the vehicle LOX tanks, the rate at which we could add helium was slower than the rate at which LOX was boiling away. There was no way to close the gap, so the launch had to be called off. In addition, we experienced an anomaly with the main engine computer that requires further investigation and was arguably reason in and of itself to postpone launch.

The next launch attempt is expected to occur in approximately mid-December, depending on the time required to resupply LOX and helium."

In the end, what I saw was a team of very smart and experienced people, making each decision after careful consideration. No one wanted to abort, but in this business, you always do the right thing.

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bombus said...

Please pass on my congratulations to the entire team. As a fascinated spectator, it's apparent that an unbelievable amount of hard work and effort has been required to simply reach this phase - regardless of the postponement. I'm sure your next attempt will see everyone's expectations come to fruition!

In the meantime, I hope you can enjoy your time in the middle of nowhere Kimbal!


Dan Ciruli said...

Seriously: Coolest blog ever.

Brad Feld said...

My brother suggested that a dude that owns a restaurant should know that you should never run out of lox at a party. You should always bring extra lox to go with the bagels and cream cheese.

Seriously, the gang in Boulder is pulling for you guys.

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