ABL Space Systems, a small satellite launching startup aiming to make its rocket debut, aborted its third launch attempt in less than a week on Monday (Nov. 21).
The planned RS1 rocket launch, which was targeted for 5:32 p.m. EST (2232 GMT) from the Pacific Spaceport Complex on Kodiak Island, Alaska, aborted less than 2 seconds from liftoff, the California-based company said. The next launch opportunity will be on Dec. 7.
"RS1 aborted during ignition at T-1.75s. The vehicle is healthy, and the team is setting up to offload propellant for today," ABL Space Systems representatives wrote in a Twitter update (opens in new tab). "Our next launch window opens on December 7th." The company did not announce an exact cause for the abort.
Monday's abort was the third stalled launch try for ABL Space Systems since Nov. 17, when the company's first launch attempt ended in an abort during engine ignition. An attempt on Saturday (Nov. 19) also ended in an abort 1.8 seconds before launch due to an engine turbopump issue, the company said. An attempt to launch the mission on Nov. 14 was also scrubbed due to a leaky valve (opens in new tab).
Based in El Segundo, California, ABL Space Systems was founded in 2017 to build the RS1 rocket, a 88-foot-tall (27 meters) launch vehicle capable of carrying satellites and payloads weighing up to 2,975 pounds (1,350 kilograms) to low Earth orbit. Each mission will cost about $12 million.
For its debut flight, the RS1 rocket is carrying two small cubesats called VariSat-1A and VariSat-1B, each of which is the size of a shoebox. The two satellites are designed to test marine data communications operations for the company VariSat LLC.
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