SpaceX rocket launch from Vandenberg canceled seconds before blastoff: ‘Abort, abort’

·1 min read
SpaceX screenshot

With seconds left in the countdown, a Falcon 9 rocket’s team declared an abort delaying the departure at least a day for a mission to deliver military satellites into orbit from Vandenberg Space Force Base.

The Space Exploration Technologies team counted down toward zero on Thursday when the abort occurred 3 seconds before the planned liftoff from Space Launch Complex-4 near Lompoc.

“Abort. Abort. Abort,” a team member announced before the launch director confirmed the abrupt cancellation of the countdown.

The reason for the abort wasn’t immediately clear.

“The vehicle and payload remain healthy,” the SpaceX launch commentator said. “Keep in mind, the purpose of the countdown is to help us catch potential issues prior to flight. There are a thousand ways a launch can wrong and only one way it can go right.”

Clear skies Thursday morning greeted spectators hoping to catch a glimpse of the rocket’s liftoff from Vandenberg and the first-stage booster’s intended to return to the landing zone near the launch site.

SpaceX has another opportunity for liftoff Friday, likely around 7:29 a.m.

Dubbed Tranche 0, the mission involves 10 satellites as part of the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture, a new approach to buying, building and launching missile tracking and data relay spacecraft.

The customer for the mission is the Space Development Agency, which formed in 2019 and now falls under the umbrella of the U.S. Space Force.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at