SpaceX rocket launch aborted in last second

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email
A new private rocket is stuck on the ground after an aborted launch.

In this artist's rendering by Akihiro Ikeshita released via Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Japanese probe Akatsuki is reaching Venus, right. Probe Akatsuki on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010, reached Venus and prepared to enter orbit on a two-year mission that would mark a major milestone for Japan's space program and could shed light on the climate of Earth's mysterious neighbor. (AP Photo/Akihiro Ikeshita via JAXA) EDITORIAL USE ONLY

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- A new private rocket is stuck on the ground after an aborted launch.

The countdown reached all the way to practically zero Saturday morning for the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. A NASA spokesman said the engine ignition sequence started, but there was an automatic shutdown by on-board computers. So instead of blasting off from Cape Canaveral on a delivery mission to the International Space Station, the rocket remained on its launch pad amid a cloud of engine exhaust.

An engine pressure problem is suspected. The next launch attempt will be Tuesday, if the problem can be resolved in time.

This was the first launch attempt by one of the private U.S. companies hoping to take over the job of delivering cargo and eventually astronauts to the space station for NASA.

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