A last-minute technical problem forced SpaceX to cancel Monday’s attempt to launch four astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A last-minute technical problem forced SpaceX to cancel Monday’s attempt to launch four astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA.
The countdown was stopped with just two minutes left until liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center. In just one second it explodes, there is no time to deal with the problem, which involves the engine’s ignition system.
SpaceX did not immediately say when it would try again. The next test could come as early as Tuesday, although bad weather is forecast on the East Coast in the emergency recovery area.
Strapped into the capsule atop the Falcon rocket are two NASA astronauts, a Russian cosmonaut and an astronaut from the United Arab Emirates. They had to wait until all the fuel was used up from the rocket – an hour-long process – before exiting.
“We’ll be sitting here waiting,” commander Stephen Bowen assured everyone. “We feel good.”
Bowen and his crew — including the first astronaut from the United Arab Emirates to be assigned to a month-long mission, Sultan al-Neyadi — will replace the four space station residents who have been there since then. October.
Officials said the problem involved ground equipment used to load the engine’s ignition fluid. The launch team cannot guarantee a full load. A SpaceX engineer likens this critical system to spark plugs for a car.
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