Sunday, May 20, 2012

Private space venture aborted at last second

A new private supply ship for the International Space Station remained stuck on the ground Saturday after rocket engine trouble led to a last-second abort of the historic flight.

All nine engines for the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket roared to life Saturday morning. But with a half-second remaining before liftoff, the onboard computers automatically shut everything down. So instead of blasting off on a delivery mission to the space station, the rocket stayed on its launchpad amid a plume of engine exhaust.

Even NASA's most seasoned launch commentator was taken off-guard. "Three, two, one, zero and liftoff," announced commentator George Diller, his voice trailing as the rocket failed to budge. "We've had a cutoff. Liftoff did not occur."

Read more: Philadelphia Inquirer 


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