Historic Launch of Space Capsule Scrubbed

Posted May 19th, 2012 at 5:30 am (UTC-5)
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A technical problem has forced SpaceX to abort what would have been the first launch of a privately owned capsule to the International Space Station.

The pre-dawn launch of the Dragon Capsule from Cape Canaveral, Florida was scrubbed a second before it was to occur on Saturday.

Initial plans are to try again Tuesday morning. A computer detected a problem with one of the engines and shut down Saturday's launch attempt at the moment of ignition.

The long, thin white rocket is owned by the California-based SpaceX company. The capsule is carrying supplies for the international space station.

In a Friday briefing, SpaceX president Gwynn Shotwell said the company is hoping to become part of a small group that has docked crafts with the space station.

“There's only been four nations of groups or nations that have berthed or docked a space craft to the International Space Station. It's Europe, Russia, the United States, of course, and Japan. So, we really stand in awe of having the opportunity to attempt this.”

The Dragon Capsule is carrying 544 kilograms of cargo for what would be a test flight.

The cargo is not considered essential for the space station crew.

SpaceX received more than $380 million in funding from the U.S. space agency, NASA, which retired its space shuttle fleet, last year.