NASA Aborts Parker-Solar Probe Launch in Last Minute

NASA early Saturday morning delayed its launch of the Parker-Solar probe, the first probe made by humans that will go to the sun. The launch was rescheduled for Sunday morning, BBC reported.

The launch was aborted because during the last minute check they found a technical glitch on the rocket carrying the probe, United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy rocket; this caused NASA to run out the clock on its 65-minute launch window Saturday.

“Teams worked very hard this evening, diligently getting through the launch process, looking at everything that they had to to get into the terminal count this evening,” Mic Woltman, of NASA’s Launch Services Program, said during NASA’s broadcast of the launch attempt. “As we picked up the count at T-minus four and got into a terminal count, the team received a gaseous helium red pressure alarm that kicked them out.”

The launch attempt was canceled after multiple delays. Saturday’s launch window for the Parker Solar Probe opened at 3:33 a.m.

The launch was first pushed to 3:53 a.m. But four minutes before that, NASA announced a “no-go” as the probe team investigated an issue.

At about 4:20 a.m., the team cleared the mission for launch, prompting cheers from spectators lining the NASA Causeway.

But then, with one minute and 55 seconds to go before the new time, NASA halted the launch.

The new target launch time is 3:31 a.m. Sunday.

The probe is expected to set a record as the fastest object to leave the earth, reaching 43,000 miles per hour during the launch. It will also become the fastest human-made object ever when it travels at about 430,000 miles per hour when it passes by Venus.

The probe is named after Gene Parker, a scientist who in 1958 wrote the theory about the expansion of the solar atmosphere and solar wind.

The Parker Probe will attempt to answer some of the questions Parker first raised in that paper.

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