SpaceX’s newest rocket won and will take off from the International Space Station later this month, but not before the company has to grapple with a major technical issue.
The launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket, a $1.9 billion rocket that is supposed to launch from space, has been delayed due to a technical problem with its engines, a SpaceX spokesperson said Monday.
“We’re working to get Falcon Heavy ready to take off for the first time in the coming days,” said a SpaceX spokesman.
“It will be a test flight to make sure everything goes smoothly.”
“It will launch at 5:20 a.m.
ET on Sunday from Space Launch Complex 41 in Florida, carrying a pair of commercial cargo resupply spacecraft, a cargo vehicle to the International Astronautical Day (IAAD) celebrations and a payload for the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Florida,” the spokesperson said.
The Falcon Heavy will be the first rocket to take place from Space Station, but it will be in the same segment of the ISS that was used to launch the Space Shuttle mission that was launched to the space station in 2003.
SpaceX said Monday that it plans to launch an unmanned cargo spacecraft, which it calls an Orbital Maneuvering Unit (OMU), on the first flight.
The SpaceX spokesperson did not provide details about the technical issue that caused the delay.
SpaceX said in September that the launch would begin as scheduled on Sunday, but a problem in the Falcon 9 rocket caused it to fail at 3:45 a.g.
SpaceX initially said the rocket had been “tried out” on Monday, but later changed its statement.
“After a brief period of testing, we have confirmed that the rocket did not perform as expected,” SpaceX said.
“However, we are working to verify the rocket’s performance prior to launching.
We will continue to test and verify Falcon 9 for a safe, effective launch.”
The company’s latest rocket launch failed on March 4, the first launch since the Space Launch System rocket that was to take humans to the moon.
That rocket, which was built by United Launch Alliance and has been called the SpaceShipOne, was supposed to take the first people to the surface of the moon, but the first stage of that rocket failed, sending the first humans to space on a mission that ultimately ended in failure.
SpaceX officials have said they plan to use a rocket called the Dragon 2 to launch astronauts into space.
A SpaceX spokesperson declined to say what caused the failure, but said the company is “working to determine the cause.”
The company is still testing the rocket for safety, but so far the launch has gone smoothly, according to the spokesperson.
Spacex did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the technical issues that delayed the Falcon 10 launch.
The company has previously delayed its next rocket launch because of technical issues, including the launch of an unmanned test vehicle for the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
In September, SpaceX announced it was moving forward with the planned launch of a Falcon Heavy with a new rocket, the Falcon Nine.
The rocket, called the Falcon Z, would launch atop an Atlas V rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.