SpaceX today for the second time in a week had to abort a planned launch of a rocket into space because of technical glitch. A problem halted the company's original launch plans for the communications satellite earlier this year and then again on Nov. 25.
"We called manual abort. Better to be paranoid and wrong. Bringing rocket down to borescope engines ..." SpaceX chief Elon Musk tweeted shortly after the Falcon 9 rocket was ready to lift off at 5:38 p.m. ET. The engine will be inspected and another launch will be set in a few days. The nature of today's glitch wasn't immediatley clear.
SpaceX made history last year when it became the world's first private company to send a cargo payload to the International Space Station. It has contracts with NASA and other private companies to send goods into space.
After the Nov. 25 launch was scuttled, a spokeswoman for SpaceX said: "We observed unexpected readings with the first stage liquid oxygen system, so we decided to investigate. The launch vehicle and satellite are in great shape, and we are looking forward to the next launch opportunity."
The spokeswoman was referring to a communications satellite for the Luxembourg telecom company SES. SpaceX has also launched a rocket for the company MDA Corp, although that was considered more a test flight than a full-fledged mission. If successful, today will be SpaceX's commercial debut.
Even though the year is coming to a close, SpaceX is still planning to launch one more satellite before 2013 is over. On Dec. 20, another Falcon 9 rocket will launch the Thaicom 6 satellite into orbit. Beyond that satellite, SpaceX still has more than 50 launches totaling nearly $4 billion left on its to-do list.
Today was to be Cape Canaveral's first Thanksgiving launch since 1959. In addition, comet ISON's trip around the sun has also caught space lovers' attention today. Both of these events had inspired Twitter users, including SpaceX itself, to call today as #Spacegiving.