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“Off-Nominal Data” Scrubs NASA’s ICON Mission Shortly After Takeoff

7 November 2018
Florida Today reports that teams scrubbed the first attempt to launch a “Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket carrying the $242 million Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) mission after it took off from Cape Canaveral under the belly of a carrier aircraft” just before 3 a.m. EST. According to NASA’s Launch Services Program, engineers “encountered an anomaly” while flying the rocket to its drop zone off the coast of Florida, adding that the “team is evaluating the next launch attempt.” A 90-minute window will open 3:05 a.m. EST Thursday, and the weather forecast “is good, with an 80 percent chance of acceptable conditions.” Following this window, the Eastern Range closes “for an unspecified period, and it was not immediately clear when the next opportunity would be available,” as SpaceX is also preparing for a Falcon 9 launch next week. The source of the anomaly is not immediately clear. During the ferry flight of the Pegasus from Vandenberg AFB to Cape Canaveral last month, data collected “raised concerns about the electrical system that controls three fins on the three-stage rocket’s first stage.” Components were swapped out, and “Northrop performed a nearly five-hour flight test on Oct. 28 to prove the changes had worked.” (Image Credit: NASA)
More Info (Florida Today)

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