The historic launch of the first commercial spacecraft set to dock at the International Space Station was shut down at, literally, the last possible second on Saturday morning.
The ship was developed by a California company called SpaceX. The Falcon 9 rocket with a Dragon cargo capsule was supposed to carry over 1,000 pounds of "non-essential" items like clothes and food to the ISS, and it was to be the first privately owned craft to dock there, an important step in N.A.S.A.'s plan to move away from its space shuttle launch program.
The video of the failed lift off, which is below, is really awkward. The announcer counts all the way down to zero and even says, "lift off!" before the engines cut out. The fire building under the rocket goes dark and steam is shot out from different points of the ship. The announcer radios to a command post that tells him the computer cancelled the take-off, and the announcer attempts to explain what's happening to the viewers but he sounds like he's struggling to figure out what to do.
It turns out the ships' computers detected above-normal pressure ratings in the rocket's engine chambers so it cancelled the shut down. The next possible time the ship could launch is on Tuesday morning, May 22, at 3:44 a.m.
Here is the video:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.