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SpaceX Aborts Unmanned Rocket Launch Until Friday

The privately run space company and NASA hope to send the rocket, loaded with 4,100 pounds of goods, to the astronauts at the International Space Station. The launch has been rescheduled to early Friday morning.

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Updated on

Private company SpaceX and NASA's planned launch of an unmanned rocket to the International Space Station to help resupply the six astronauts there was aborted at Cape Canaveral on Tuesday morning.

In the live video stream, the scrubbing of the launch was attributed to "some actuator drift fairly late in the count on the thrust factor control system, that would have triggered an automatic abort in the final stage in the count."

At 1:21 before launch, a thrust vector control actuator for the Falcon 9’s 2nd stage failed to perform as expected. @SpaceX is evaluating.

NASA@NASAFollow

At 1:21 before launch, a thrust vector control actuator for the Falcon 9’s 2nd stage failed to perform as expected. @SpaceX is evaluating.

11:48 AM - 06 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

A second attempt at the launch will take place at 5:09 a.m. ET Friday.

"That actuator drift will have to be resolved before Friday's launch attempt," a NASA/SpaceX technician said on the live stream.

In October, another company, Orbital Sciences Corporation, tried to launch an unmanned rocket, but it exploded. There were no injuries.

There's an additional twist to the SpaceX mission, as the Associated Press reported:

SpaceX is making another supply run to the International Space Station for NASA. But it's the rocket's return — not its takeoff — that has space fans talking.

Minutes after Tuesday morning's planned launch from Cape Canaveral, the first stage of the unmanned Falcon rocket will aim for a vertical test landing on a barge in the Atlantic. The 14-story booster will soar close to 150 miles high, before flying back down and attempting to settle upright on the floating platform — close to the size of a football field.

"When you look at it on the ground, I think it's probably a very, very big platform, a big spaceport," Hans Koenigsmann, vice president for mission assurance at SpaceX, said Monday on the eve of launch. "But if you look at it from, I think, almost 150 or so miles up in suborbit, then it looks like a very, very small place to land on."

Tom Namako is the deputy news director for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Tom Namako at tom.namako@buzzfeed.com.

Francis Whittaker is a homepage editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Francis Whittaker at francis.whittaker@buzzfeed.com.

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