SpaceX's inaugural attempt at launching its Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station ended with a flash on Saturday morning (May 19), as its Falcon 9 rocket's engines briefly ignited but then just as quickly shut down.
"5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, and lifttt...offff, we've had a cutoff," announced NASA launch commentator George Diller. "Liftoff did not occur. We have a launch abort."
"We did not get confirmation from the first-motion sensor that liftoff occurred," Diller continued.
Initial indications were that the abort at T-0.5 seconds was due to one of the Falcon's nine Merlin engines being over-pressurized.
"The Falcon 9's computers picked up an anomaly with the rocket and aborted the launch just before liftoff," NASA reported on its website. "Early data shows that the chamber pressure on Engine 5 was high."
"The teams will continue to look at the data and assess a launch attempt on May 22."
SpaceX's engineers will get their first look at the suspect engine on Saturday afternoon. If they determine that it needs replacing, they will require two days to complete the work.
A launch on Tuesday would target an instantaneous window at 3:44 a.m. EDT (0744 GMT). Wednesday is also a possible option, with a liftoff at 3:22 a.m. EDT (0722 GMT).