Failure to Launch for First Privately Owned Space Shuttle

Saturday, May 19, 2012 - 05:53 PM

Falcon 9 Rocket test firing engines on April 30, 2012. (Photo courtesy of SpaceX)

(Orlando, Fla. -- WMFE) A launch abort has delayed the first attempt by a private company to fly a spacecraft to the International Space Station. A potential engine problem was detected moments before lift off.

With good weather and the International Space Station in position over Florida, the launch was in its final countdown.

But after a rumble and a brief flash of fire, the Dragon capsule atop its Falcon 9 rocket remained on the pad at Cape Canaveral.

Half a second before lift-off, a computer detected high chamber pressure in one of the rocket’s nine engines, forcing a shut down.

Technicians will examine the engine to try and find out what went wrong.

SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell says they'll try to fix the engine, but another option could be to replace the faulty engine with another one.

The next opportunity for launch is early Tuesday morning.

Late Saturday SpaceX said engineers had discovered a faulty check valve on the Merlin engine.

Company spokesperson Kirstin Brost Grantham said they hoped to have the valve replaced by Saturday night.


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