The SpaceX Falcon 9 launch scrub incident is interesting to boaters in three respects:
--a boat intruding into a restricted area caused a significant problem in the mission schedule;
--the rocket booster is going to attempt to land on a boat or barge;
--the SpaceX Falcon9 may be the rocket that will carry future GPS-III series satellites into orbit, maintaining the GPS constellation for use in navigation by boaters.
The launch of SES-9 by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket scheduled for February 27-28, 2015 has been scrubbed due to problems resulting from delays. One of the delays was due to intrusion of a boat into the restricted areas near the Cape Canaveral launch. Problems with the liquid oxygen fuel may have precipitated from the delay while waiting for the intruding boat to be moved out of the area.
The Falcon 9 first stage has nine engines. The rocket can continue on its launch mission even if one or possible two of the engines fail to function properly. The Falcon 9 first stage is also designed to be recovered. In December 2015 SpaceX demonstrated for the first time a successful recovery of the Falcon 9 first stage booster rocket from a launch of an orbital payload by landing the rocket at Cape Canaveral. For the SES-9 mission, SpaceX is planning an attempt to recover the first stage of the rocket after launch by landing it on a barge (more properly known as an autonomous spaceport drone ship or ASDS) in the Atlantic Ocean. Earlier attempts to land the rocket booster on the droneship were unsuccessful.
With United Launch Alliance declining to bid as a launch contractor for GPS-III satellite missions, SpaceX may be get the contract award by default. We will have to wait a few more weeks to see if the Air Force has any announcements on this topic.
For more information see:
Falcon 9 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_9
Autonomous spaceport drone ship at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomou ... drone_ship
Wayward Boat Blamed After Aborted Launch at http://www.geekwire.com/2016/wayward-bo ... st-second/
Articles about GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, WAAS and other satellite navigation systems
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More details have come out. The "wayward boat" was really an ocean-going tug and barge. They were 30-miles offshore but did cross into the restricted range area for the launch.
The Falcon 9 rocket successfully put the SES-9 satellite into orbit following a launch on Friday evening, March 4, 2016. However, the first stage of the rocket was not successfully landed on the recovery droneship. SpaceX said this particular launch did not offer the best chances for success due to the mission objectives: the very high orbital altitude desired for the satellite caused the booster speed to be higher than normal and for the remaining propellant available for recovery of the first stage to be less than normal.