Planned SpaceX rocket launch called off, grounding local students' science experiments once again

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP Modified) -- SpaceX called off its planned flight to the International Space Station early Tuesday because of rocket trouble.

The unmanned Falcon rocket was supposed to carry science experiments by four students in Madison Heights.


Their first attempt, back in October, ended when a  rocket carrying science experiments created by 18 teams of students across the country exploded shortly after take-off.

The SpaceX rocket was supposed to blast off before sunrise Tuesday. But the countdown was halted with just over a minute remaining. The soonest SpaceX can try again is Friday morning.

Officials said the problem was with the motors needed for second-stage rocket thrust steering. If controllers had not aborted the launch, computers would have done so closer to flight time, NASA launch commentator George Diller said.

The Dragon capsule aboard the rocket contains more than 5,000 pounds of supplies and experiments ordered up by NASA. That's the primary objective for SpaceX. But the California-based company was to attempt an even more extraordinary feat once the Dragon is on its way: flying the booster rocket to a platform in the Atlantic. No one has ever pulled off such a touchdown.

SpaceX's billionaire founder Elon Musk says recovering and reusing rockets could speed up launches and drive down costs.

The delivery was supposed to occur before Christmas, but was delayed because of a flawed test firing of the rocket engines. The test was repeated successfully, paving the way for Tuesday's try.

NASA's last contracted shipment ended in an explosion seconds after the October liftoff from Virginia. That company -- Orbital Sciences Corp. -- has grounded its rocket fleet until next year.


Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in - includes Advertiser Stories