SpaceX postpones first satellite launch

Nov 29, 2013
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, with the Dragon space craft, seen preparing for a launch on October 7, 2012 from Cape Canaveral, Florida

Private US company SpaceX postponed the launch of a rocket carrying its first telecommunications satellite on Thursday after two unsuccessful attempts at take-off.

The launch at a US Air Force base in Cape Canaveral, Florida was moved to Thursday after an attempt on Monday was aborted.

The unmanned Falcon 9 was aborted for a first time on Thursday shortly after engine ignition at 5:39 pm (2239 GMT) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

A second attempt was made at 6:44 pm (2344 GMT) but was also scrapped.

SpaceX's billionaire founder Elon Musk said on Twitter it would likely "a few days" before a further attempt is made.

"We called manual abort. Better to be paranoid and wrong," Musk wrote.

The precise reasons for the failure to launch were not specified.

It was to be the first launch with an improved version of the Falcon 9 after a test flight in California.

SpaceX is eager to get into the commercial satellite launch business, estimated to be worth $190 billion a year, with competitive prices.

This time it was to launch a satellite for the Luxembourg company SES, the second largest in the world in that sector.

Until now, SES has used European Ariane rockets or the Russian Proton.

These are much more expensive than the $55 million charged by SpaceX, said SES chief technology officer Martin Halliwell.

The SES satellite is due to provide television, cable TV and other services to countries including China, India and Vietnam.

The Falcon 9 has already succeeded in sending its Dragon capsules to the International Space Station under a contract with NASA.

The capsule takes cargo into space and brings back material from scientific experiments.

Explore further: Private US launch of satellite delayed

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

First-ever SpaceX payload delivery set for launch

Nov 25, 2013

The maiden flight of the next-generation commercial SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the firm's Cape Canaveral launch facility is set to soar to space on Monday afternoon, Nov. 25 on a ground-breaking mission ...

Recommended for you

Astronauts to reveal sobering data on asteroid impacts

16 hours ago

This Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22, three former NASA astronauts will present new evidence that our planet has experienced many more large-scale asteroid impacts over the past decade than previously thought… ...

Rosetta instrument commissioning continues

16 hours ago

We're now in week four of six dedicated to commissioning Rosetta's science instruments after the long hibernation period, with the majority now having completed at least a first initial switch on.

Astronaut salary

17 hours ago

Talk about a high-flying career! Being a government astronaut means you have the chance to go into space and take part in some neat projects—such as going on spacewalks, moving robotic arms and doing science ...

Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

Apr 16, 2014

Monday night's lunar eclipse proved just as delightful as expected to those able to view it. On the East Coast, cloudy skies may have gotten in the way, but at the National Science Foundation's National Optical ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

baudrunner
not rated yet Nov 29, 2013
"We observed unexpected readings with the first stage liquid oxygen system so we decided to investigate."
..from the L.A. Times. First big satellite launch and I guess it's just normal paranoia. It's not like they're sending some small NASA payload into orbit, which SpaceX has done already, for which launch failure might be more easily forgiven. No, this is a nail biter. Gotta make good on this contract or all credibility will be lost.

More news stories

Cosmologists weigh cosmic filaments and voids

(Phys.org) —Cosmologists have established that much of the stuff of the universe is made of dark matter, a mysterious, invisible substance that can't be directly detected but which exerts a gravitational ...

Hubble image: A cross-section of the universe

An image of a galaxy cluster taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope gives a remarkable cross-section of the Universe, showing objects at different distances and stages in cosmic history. They range ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

White House updating online privacy policy

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...