SpaceX rocket launch aborted in last second

First private launch at Cape Canaveral


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – A new private rocket is stuck on the ground after an aborted launch.

The countdown reached all the way to practically zero just before 5 o'clock Saturday morning for the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

A NASA spokesman said the engine ignition sequence started, but there was an automatic shutdown by on-board computers. So instead of blasting off from Cape Canaveral on a delivery mission to the International Space Station, the rocket remained on its launch pad amid a cloud of engine exhaust.

An engine pressure problem is suspected.

The next launch attempt will be Tuesday, if the problem can be resolved in time.

This was the first launch attempt by a private U.S. company hoping to successfully reach the International Space Station.

The CEO of SpaceX is billionaire, Elon Musk, the same businessman who helped launch PayPal.

The rocket has a transport capsule named Dragon. The idea is that commercial rockets will replace shuttles, delivering cargo and eventually astronauts to the Space Station.

"I don't know if that's quite the space race, more of the dawn of a new era of space exploration. And it's one driven by commercial companies," said Musk.

He had said that he wouldn't be terribly surprised if a few things go wrong ahead of or during the launch.

"Its been a very hard technology to develop and of course we need to prove we've done it correctly, and I think there's a good chance that we don't quite succeed on the first time," said Musk.