SpaceX aborts rocket launch carrying 60 Starlink satellites due to engine failure

The Falcon 9 was supposed to expand the network of Starlink satellites by bringing an additional sixty of them to near-Earth orbit, raising their number to over 350. Prior to the launch, everything went smoothly for SpaceX. But at the moment of ignition, the rocket failed to take off. "We have an abort" once it was clear the rocket wasn't getting airborne.

"Keep in mind, the objective of the countdown is to help us catch potential issues prior to flight", Andrews explained. "We'll hopefully have more information and share it with you soon". SpaceX later added, via a tweet: "Standing down today; standard auto-abort triggered due to out-of-family data during engine power check".

SpaceX is now working with the U.S. Air Force and the Eastern Range to find the next possible available launch date.

The launch will carry 60 more Starlink broadband internet satellites to their low Earth orbit destination, using a Falcon 9 rocket with a booster that flew four times previously, including twice in 2018 and twice previous year, most recently in November for another Starlink mission. 5 flights of a Falcon 9 booster can be a document for SpaceX - and the booster that it's making an attempt this mission with is already a record-holder, because it achieved SpaceX's current high-water mark for re-use with its final November launch. "Falcon 9's first stage supported the Iridium-7 NEXT mission in July 2018, the SAOCOM 1A mission in October 2018, the Nusantara Satu mission in February 2019, and the second launch of Starlink in November 2019", SpaceX wrote. If today's launch had been successful, the rocket would be the first to fly five times. SpaceX has been trying these recoveries to further increase the reuse (and lower the cost) of the launch, but so far it hasn't had much consistency in its success, capturing three fairings in total. "Chief", will attempt to recover the two fairing halves.

SpaceX narrowly missed a potential major mishap after deciding to abort the launch of the latest batch of Starlink satellites. SpaceX will also need to find a new date for the launch, which can be hard with the high demand on launch facilities.