NASA launch postponed due to steering issues

Feb 21, 2017, 00:32

SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk has said at a press conference in Cape Canaveral, Florida, that the company would launch Dragon spacecraft to Mars by 2020 and not in 2018 as announced earlier.

It was the first SpaceX launch from Florida since a Falcon 9 exploded on a launch pad on September 1, 2016. And this weekend was the first time that any spacecraft had launched from that pad since NASA's Space Shuttle Atlantis took its final flight in July, 2011.

And just eight minutes after the initial takeoff, the first stage successfully landed at Cape Canaveral.

The Falcon 9 was scheduled for takeoff on the Saturday, but Mr Musk said that he and his team noted a technical anomaly just seconds before the originally scheduled launch.

The launch of a SpaceX rocket carrying an experiment from Knox County students was postponed today.

Nine minutes after blastoff, the main section of the rocket flew back to a landing pad at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the eighth successful touchdown for Space Exploration Technologies Corp.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket successfully lifted off from a NASA launchpad that was once used by Apollo astronauts.

Other such landings have taken place on floating ocean platforms, as the company perfects its techniques of powering costly rocket parts back to land instead of jettisoning them in the ocean after a single use. This launch was rescheduled to Sunday after being scrubbed on Saturday due to concerns over the rocket's steering system.

"Some of humanity's greatest adventures in orbit began at Launch Complex 39A", Nasa said in a statement.

Russia, meanwhile, plans to launch a supply ship to the International Space Station on Wednesday. The company also lost out on months of flight operations, and at least one client shifted some business to another launch provider.

Dragon will reach the orbiting lab on Feb 21 Tuesday and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet will fly the spacecraft using the Canadarm2 robotic arm, and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough will assist him.

But the updated launch on Sunday went off without a hitch.

The Sept. 1 accident occurred during prelaunch testing at a neighbouring pad.

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