Parker Solar Probe launch scrubbed; next chance is Sunday morning

Delta IV Heavy rocket with Parker Solar Probe

Saturday morning’s planned launch of a rocket from Cape Canaveral to send the Parker Solar Probe to the sun was scrubbed with less than two minutes left in the countdown due to a technical issue.

NASA reported a late issue came up with a gaseous helium alarm, identified when the countdown reached one minute and 55 seconds to blast off.

The decision to scrub the launch came around 4:30 a.m. when there was no longer enough time left in the 65-minute launch window that opened at 3:33 a.m. Saturday morning to deal with any new issues.

That means United Launch Alliance crews will have to recycle the fueling of the ULA Delta IV Heavy’s boosters and stages to prepare to try again, in addition to addressing the problem. The next launch attempt has been set for 3:31 a.m. Sunday.

The rocket is set up at Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It’s set to propel the Parker Solar Probe on a historic mission into the corona of the sun to study the violent and ultra-hot dynamics of the sun’s atmosphere, so scientists can better understand how the solar winds affect Earth.

There had been several minor technical issues identified Saturday morning, causing delays of a few minutes of a time, until the launch window expired at 4:38 a.m when the last glitch arose.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


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