A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket overcame a rare in-flight engine failure soon after launch from Florida’s Space Coast Wednesday to place 60 satellites in orbit for the company’s Starlink Internet network. Spaceflight Now reports: One of the rocket’s nine first stage engines shut down prematurely around 2 minutes, 22 seconds, after liftoff from pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, an event visible in a view from a camera streaming live video from the Falcon 9 as it climbed into the upper atmosphere. Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and CEO, confirmed in a tweet that the Falcon 9 experienced an “early engine shutdown on ascent, but it didn’t affect orbit insertion.” The rocket’s other Merlin engines fired a little longer to compensate for the loss of thrust. The rest of the Falcon 9’s climb into orbit appeared to go according to plan, and the upper stage deployed the 60 Starlink satellites into orbit around 15 minutes after liftoff. “Shows value of having 9 engines!” Musk wrote on Twitter.
The first stage missed a landing attempt on SpaceX’s drone ship parked in the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Cape Canaveral, the second time SpaceX has missed a rocket landing in the company’s last three missions. It was not immediately clear whether the engine shutdown on ascent affected the recovery attempt. Musk promised a “thorough investigation” of Wednesday’s early engine shutdown before the next Falcon 9 launch, and it was not immediately clear whether the inquiry might prompt launch delays.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.