Tech & Science

SpaceX launch cancelled last minute due to engine issue

Cape Canaveral, Florida –

A last-minute technical issue forced SpaceX to cancel Monday’s attempt to launch four astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA.

The countdown stopped with two minutes remaining until launch from Kennedy Space Center. A split second explosion left no time for problems involving the engine ignition system.

SpaceX has delayed the launch until at least Thursday.

Affixed to the Falcon rocket capsule were two NASA astronauts, one Russian cosmonaut, and one United Arab Emirates astronaut. They had to wait until all the fuel had been expelled from the rocket, a one-hour process.

“We’ll be sitting here waiting,” Commander Stephen Bowen assured everyone. “We’re all feeling good.”

Bowen and his crew are four people who have been on the space station since October, including Sultan Al-Neyadi, the first astronaut assigned to the multi-month mission from the United Arab Emirates. It replaces the space station resident.

Officials said the problem was related to ground equipment used to load the engine ignition fluid. The launch team couldn’t confirm if there was a full load, and SpaceX engineers likened this critical system to a car’s spark plugs.


The Associated Press’ Health Sciences Division is supported by the Scientific and Educational Media Group at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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