Private rocket gears up for historic Cape Canaveral launch

SpaceX launch

The rocket's designer, SpaceX, says the problem's been fixed, and it's ready for its next launch attempt at 3:44 a.m. on Tuesday. (WRDW-TV / May 21, 2012)

News 12 at First at Five / Monday, May 21, 2012

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- At Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the Falcon 9 rocket stands poised and ready to go. The rocket is not a creation of NASA; it's actually a creation of the private sector.

Early Saturday morning, the Falcon 9 rocket almost made it off the launchpad.

"On Saturday morning, we aborted the launch about half a second before liftoff. It turned out that we had faulty valve that we need to replace," said Kirstin Grantham, communications director with SpaceX.

Now, the rocket's designer, SpaceX, says the problem's been fixed, and it's ready for its next launch attempt at 3:44 a.m. on Tuesday.

"Right now, things are looking very good for a launch tomorrow. It would be an exciting start to this mission," Grantham said.

If it does launch successfully, it would be a crowning achievement for spaceflight.

"Because it's the first commercial company from the United States -- or the whole world -- to send a spacecraft into orbit," she said.

They hope to rendezvous a capsule from the Falcon 9 with the International Space Station to deliver some supplies.

Since the retirement of the Space Shuttle, America has had no way of getting supplies or astronauts to the International Space Station, which was primarily built with American taxpayer dollars.

"If we are successful, this will be America's return to space. It's the first American spacecraft to go back to space since the shuttle program," Grantham said.

If successful, America would be one step closer to sending U.S. astronauts to space again.

Elon Musk is the CEO of SpaceX. Interestingly, Musk is also the co-founder of PayPal. This isn't the first rocket he's launched here from Kennedy Space Center. He's actually launched two Falcon 9's prior to this, but this will be the first Falcon 9 that will dock with the International Space Station.


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