by Chris Tobias
Zoe: Get her running “again?”
Zoe: Sooo… not running now?
Mal: Not so much… But she will.
— Firefly, “Out of Gas”
Scrubbed launches and launch delays are just a fact of life in the space industry. Spaceships are complex vehicles that rely on a lot of intricate mechanisms to function properly, and if any one of those systems, no matter how small, isn’t in perfect working order, it can spell disaster out in the black. We fans of science-fiction have become accustomed to the portrayal of spaceships like Serenity or the Millennium Falcon as the “lovable bucket of bolts,” but the truth is very far from what Hollywood has sold us, and when dealing with a real space launch, if there is even the slightest chance that everything isn’t absolutely perfect, then safe is better than sorry.
And so SpaceX’s CRS-3 resupply mission to the International Space Station was delayed yet again today. This time the launch of the Falcon 9 rocket that was to carry the Dragon capsule to the ISS was scrubbed due to a first stage Helium leak. SpaceX expects to have the problem rectified in time for the next launch opportunity, which will be Friday, April 18 at 3:25pm EST.
And when the Dragon does finally break atmo for CRS-3, you can bet we’ll be tuned in, watching in wonder…