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UPDATE: Fourth Launch Attempt Scrubbed, Says SpaceX CEO

The SES-9 satellite awaits a ride to orbit on SpaceX's Falcon 9. Photo: SpaceX Twitter

UPDATE: CEO Elon Musk said upper level winds caused Tuesday’s scrub.

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SpaceX scrubbed three attempts last week.

Fuel used in the Falcon 9 rocket is causing the delays. SpaceX started using chilled liquid oxygen. By cooling the fuel to a very low temperature, SpaceX can load more into the rocket and increase the Falcon 9’s efficiency.

But during the last launch attempt, a boat drifted into the launch zone putting the countdown on hold. While SpaceX waited for the boat to clear, the fuel warmed up a bit too much, and that forced technicians to scrub the launch.

The so-called super-chilled liquid oxygen was used successfully only once before in a launch from California earlier this year. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says this technology – along with landing and reusing the spent booster – will lower the cost of launching rockets into space.

If successful, this will be the private space company’s first launch from Florida this year. The launch window opens at 6:35 PM EST.

SpaceX will try and land the lower portion of the rocket on a barge at sea.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Intersection' Producer

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts "Are We There Yet?", WMFE's space exploration podcast He also helps produce WMFE's twice-weekly public affairs show "Intersection," working with host Matthew Peddie to shape the ... Read Full Bio »