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SpaceX Reschedules Launch

SpaceX's autonomous spaceport drone ship. Photo credit: SpaceX
SpaceX's autonomous spaceport drone ship. Photo credit: SpaceX

SpaceX will try again on Friday to land a booster rocket on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean.

Tuesday morning’s launch of a capsule packed with supplies for the International Space Station was scrubbed because of a technical problem.

Just before lift-off Tuesday morning the countdown was stopped.

On its website, SpaceX said “engineers observed drift on one of the two thrust vector actuators on the second stage that would likely have caused an automatic abort.”

The company is now targeting launch for 5:09am Friday January 9th.

The Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon Capsule is set to lift off from Cape Canaveral Airforce Station for the company’s fifth official resupply mission to the ISS.

SpaceX will attempt to land part of its booster rocket on an ocean platform- called the ‘autonomous spaceport drone ship.’

The company says it has about a 50-50 chance of successfully landing the first stage booster on the 300 by 170 foot platform.

SpaceX describes the process of stabilizing the rocket as it returns to earth as “like trying to balance a rubber broomstick on your hand in the middle of a wind storm.”

A series of 3 burns will slow the rocket from 1300 meters per second to 2 meters per second before the legs deploy for landing.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk says developing a fully reusable rocket will substantially reduce the cost of missions to space.