A helium leak on the launch pad has forced SpaceX to cancel their planned Falcon 9 rocket launch today, postponing the private company’s third International Space Station resupply mission until another attempt on Friday (April 18). Unfortunately, the weather outlook is not good later in the week.
During the commencement of a live broadcast of the launch, the launch director said: “We have encountered an issue that will result in our scrubbing today’s 4/14 launch attempt.”
The launch cancellation comes after a backup computer system on the space station failed on Friday, but the problem wasn’t thought to be an issue for the SpaceX Dragon capsule to berth with the orbiting outpost. Materials that will be used to help replace the station’s multiplexer/demultiplexer (MDM) backup computer command relay box were rushed to the unmanned Dragon vehicle over the weekend.
In addition to delivering over 2 tons of supplies and experiments to the station, the launch is notable in that SpaceX will be testing out landing legs attached to the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage. This will be the first time that the company will test out the viability of returning a rocket booster in a soft landing over the ocean.