MARCIA DUNN (AP Aerospace Writer)
SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (AP) — SpaceX canceled the first launch attempt of its giant rocket on Monday after it encountered a problem with its fuel supply.
Elon Musk’s company planned to launch a Starship rocket some 400 feet from the southern tip of Texas near the Mexican border.
The countdown stopped at the 40 second mark as the first stage booster valve was stuck. Launch controllers were unable to fix the frozen valves in time and canceled the attempt. The countdown continues, and refueling is completed as a dress rehearsal.
There were no people or satellites on board. No retries until at least Wednesday.
“I learned a lot today,” Musk tweeted after his flight was postponed.
The company plans to use Starship to send people and cargo to the moon and eventually to Mars.
The night before the launch, cars, campers, RVs, and even bicycles and horses blocked the only path leading to the launch pad. On the launch pad, a stainless steel rocket towered above flat scrubland and prairie. Enthusiasts posed in front of giant letters spelling Starbase at the entrance to the SpaceX complex, and he even posed in front of a rocket that ended in a bay two miles away.
On Monday, spectators were barred from the area and instead packed onto a beach on South Padre Island, about six miles away.
Ernesto and Maria Carreon and their two daughters, ages 5 and 7, drove two hours from Mission, Texas.
“It made me sad,” Maria Calleon said when the launch attempt was canceled.
They won’t be able to return for their next challenge, but plan to have some fun at the beach on Monday.
Michelle Vancampenhout, who’s on vacation from Green Bay, Wisconsin, said she’ll be back.
“Seeing it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she said.
The Associated Press’ Health Sciences Division is supported by the Scientific and Educational Media Group at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. AP is solely responsible for all content.
https://www.mcall.com/2023/04/17/spacex-calls-off-1st-launch-attempt-of-giant-rocket-in-texas/ SpaceX cancels first attempt to launch giant rocket in Texas – The Morning Call