SpaceX launch aborted at last second
I hope people don't read too much into this temporary setback of the privatization of space. The Falcon rocket has had 2 successful launches in the past, but a sensor detected a build up in pressure and automatically shut down the engine and aborted today's launch.
As I mentioned yesterday, the mission would have been the first privately built operation to dock with the ISS.
The Falcon, as well as the Dragon capsule, are still in the experiemntal stage and failures are bound to occur. This is in the nature of new launch systems and should not be seen as anything more than a normal process to perfect the hardware and software that will eventually lift crews up to the International Space Station.
SpaceX aborted the historic launch of its Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station on Saturday at the last second because of a rocket engine glitch.
The launch would the first attempt to send a private spacecraft to the space station. SpaceX and NASA officials say the next launch attempts could come Tuesday or Wednesday in the early morning hours at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
As the countdown reached zero, the engines began firing -- but then shut down, NASA and SpaceX officials said.
SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said "high chamber pressure" was detected in Engine 5 of the Falcon 9, the rocket to carry the Dragon spacecraft. She said technicians will inspect the engines later on Saturday and is looking forward to another takeoff soon.
"This is not a failure," Shotwell told reporters. "We aborted with purpose. It would have been a failure if we lifted off with an engine trending in this direction."
NASA's Kennedy Space Center also posted a Twitter message Saturday saying "early data shows that the chamber pressure on Engine 5 of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket was high, causing the abort."
The mission is designed to establish whether SpaceX can deliver cargo to the station.
Perhaps not an auspicious beginning considering the stratospheric expectations by many in the industry. But there will be other flights - probably failures as well - as the commercial space industry tries to get off the ground.