Well what a palaver. After a countdown that went all the way down to two minutes rocket specialists ILS (International Launch Servcies) issued the big no go to the launch of the Atlas 5 rocket carrying Inmarsat’s 4-1 satellite yesterday afternoon. ILS said the reason for the suspension was due to the USAF who weren’t happy with sensors that indicated the flight termination system was working. This basically enables the USAF to blow the rocket up should it not head skywards but take a detour towards Orlando. The issue that caused the final halt was related to an anomalous reading in the "pogo" suppression system, which dampens vibrations in a liquid-fueled rocket.
Inmarsat execs were putting a brave face on the suspension and along with ILS remain confident that the Atlas V rocket will be heading skywards at around 4.45 ET this afternoon. Only trouble is it is much cloudier and windier today in Florida and that could have a serious impact on whether the launch happens.
If the rocket doesn’t go up today I’ll be gutted as I’ll be heading home without seeing one go up. Rather more peeved though will be the Inmarsat team who, unless they can grab some space tomorrow, might have to wait as long as three months before trying again. With an exciting new service to launch, and potential investors to woo that’s really bad news.
So please keep everything crossed for later on and if you fancy grabbing a slice of the action tune into the countdown from around 4.15pm ET (9.15PM in the UK)