Rocket startup ABL Space Systems is pushing back its debut launch to Jan. 9
After all, ABL Space Systems will not perform its debut mission in 2022.
The California-based startup attempted to launch its RS1 rocket from the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Alaska several times over the past month, but was thwarted each time by technical problems. Another attempt on Dec 8 was aborted six minutes before launch when the launch team noticed abnormal data readings from the rocket.
This latest problem likely has a “thermoelectric or thermomechanical cause,” ABL officials said via Twitter on Tuesday (opens in new tab) (Dec. 13). The company steps down to tackle it, pushing the next launch attempt into the new year.
“The team is implementing fixes and working on a launch attempt during our next launch window, which opens on January 9,” ABL said in another Tuesday tweet (opens in new tab).
Related: Rocket startup ABL Space Systems aborts third launch attempt in a week
ABL Space Systems, which was founded in 2017, intends to capture a large share of the small satellite launch market with the RS1.
The 27-meter-tall rocket can deliver up to 1,350 kilograms (2,975 pounds) into low-Earth orbit on each flight, according to the company. ABL is currently selling missions aboard the rocket for $12 million a piece.
Although the upcoming mission is a test flight, the RS1 carries operational satellites: the rocket will attempt to launch two CubeSats called VariSat-1A and VariSat-1B into orbit. If all goes according to plan, the shoebox-sized satellites will test datacom operations at sea for company VariSat LLC.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out there (opens in new tab)(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for extraterrestrial life. Follow him on Twitter @michaelwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).
https://www.space.com/abl-space-systems-launch-delay-january-9 Rocket startup ABL Space Systems is pushing back its debut launch to Jan. 9