SpaceX says its Falcon 9 v1.1 upper stage aborted an attempted reignition of the new Merlin vacuum engine during Monday's debut of the upgraded rocket. Second-stage reignition is necessary for Falcon 9 to deliver payloads to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO).
"The second-stage engine initiated ignition, got up to about 400 psi, encountered a condition it didn't like and initiated an abort," SpaceX spokeswoman Emily Shanklin said Oct. 2. "We need more time to review the data before we come to any sort of definitive conclusion, but we are confident we will be able to address it before the next flight," she said, adding that the abort "wasn't anything fundamental" and that a planned late-October launch of the SES-8 satellite for Luxembourg fleet operator SES "is still on track to launch in about a month."
SES says it is now discussing the reignition abort with SpaceX ahead of the launch, which could also be delayed by the U.S. government shutdown as it affects operations at Cape Canaveral AFS, where the Orbital Sciences Corp.-built SES-8 spacecraft is to be launched.