The unmanned Space Exploration Technologies Falcon 9 rocket was supposed to blast off Tuesday, one minute to sunrise. It’s not only until Friday morning that the SpaceX can have another go. Experts hope the problem will be fixed in due time.
The NASA representatives say the booster’s upper-stage motor failed to operate as expected and even if the controllers hadn’t recognize the problem and aborted the launch, the computers would have done so, closer to flight time.
The rocket was carrying a Dragon cargo ship which contained more than 5,000, pounds of supplies an experiments to the International Space Station. The $100 billion outpost flies at about 260 miles above the Earth’s surface. The capsule it had to receive was stuffed with food, supplies and equipment. Also, the Dragon cargo was to deliver science equipment and a fruit fly experiment designed for immune system studies and an instrument to be mounted outside the station to measure clouds and aerosols in Earth’s atmosphere
Although this shipment was the only most important goal of the SpaceX, the Californian company has bigger plans for the rocket. Once the Dragon cargo is delivered, they plan to fly the rocket to a landing platform located in the Atlantic Ocean. If their action succeeds, it would be the first time ever such a touchdown was made.
During a prelaunch press conference SpaceX vice president Hans Koenigsmann said, “If you were to throw the airplane away after every trip you take it’s going to be expensive.”
Although previously, Elon Musk, the company’s founder and chief executive claimed that he estimated the rocket’s chances of a successful landing at 50 percent, a couple of hours before takeoff, Musk confessed to having miscalculated the entire situation. He said that he actually had no idea.
SpaceX is one of two companies that facilitates cargo transportation to the International Space Station for NASA. It is estimated that the contracts between the two reach a total sum of $3.5 billion.
Image Source: ABC News