Private rocket firm scrubs launch

SpaceX, the private company that wants to put rockets in orbit, scrubbed its second attempted launch on Monday because of technical difficulties that arose when emptying a fuel tank.

"Due to high winds, we placed the countdown on hold and began draining the fuel tank. As we drained fuel from the 1st stage tank, a faulty pressurization valve caused a vacuum condition in the tank. This caused a fuel tank barrel section to deform and suck inward. It is important to note that the root cause is an electrical fault with a valve, not structural design," wrote SpaceX founder Elon Musk on a blog on the firm's web site. "At this point, it appears that no other damage was sustained to the vehicle or the satellite."

SpaceX hopes to put satillites in space with its Falcon I rocket, a comparatively inexpensive 70-foot vehicle with a reusuable first stage. (The first stage can be recovered from the ocean.) It will make another attempt in January.

Other companies, such as the Russian-Ukrainian-Norweigian-American outfit Sea Launch already launch rockets commercially.


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