UPDATE: Tonight’s launch scrubbed due to weather. SpaceX will try again Tuesday at 6:05 PM EST.
SpaceX’s first landing didn’t quite go according to plan. The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket ran out of hydraulic fluid right before landing.
Yesterday, SpaceX was set to try again during the launch of the DSCOVR satellite. But, a last minute problem with Air Force’s Eastern Range radar scrubbed the launch. The next attempt is scheduled for this evening at 6:07 pm EST. NASA TV will begin live coverage at 5 pm EST.
What You Need to Know
This evening’s launch brings new challenges to SpaceX. The launch of the DSCOVR satellite marks SpaceX’s first deep space mission.
Launching our 1st deep space mission today. Headed to Earth-Sun L1 gravity null point at 1M miles, 4X further than moon. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 8, 2015
According to NASA, it will take the DSCOVR satellite 110 days to reach its location. L1, known as Lagrange 1, lets the satellite view Earth and the sun at the same time.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk highlighted how rocket re-entry will differ this time around in a tweet.
Rocket re-entry will be much tougher this time around due to deep space mission. Almost 2X force and 4X heat. Plenty of hydraulic fluid tho.
Besides trying the much-hyped rocket landing, SpaceX is sending NOAA’s DSCOVR satellite into space. The instruments onboard DSCOVR will give NOAA and NASA measurements of solar wind, and detailed images of Earth for “science applications such as ozone, aerosols and clouds.”
The solar wind measurements are vital and will give us 15-60 minutes lead time on geomagnetic storm warnings. In some extreme cases, these geomagnetic storms can cause disruption to power grids and communications. An intense geomagnetic storm caused power outages in Quebec in 1989.
I’ll update this post later today once we know if SpaceX was successful with its rocket landing.