SpaceX calls off Falcon 9 rocket launch at the last minute – but will try again today

 
Oliver Gill
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NASA requires seven successful flights before SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket receives final sign-off for a manned mission (Source: Getty)

Elon Musk's SpaceX programme will today retry the launch of a new rocket it hopes to will eventually carry astronauts into space, after last night sensationally pulling plans seconds before lift-off.

The updated Falcon 9 rocket was due to take off shortly before 11pm UK time. But an auto-abort was triggered one minute before the allotted launch time.

SpaceX is now working towards a revised timetable that will see lift-off at 9.14pm (UK time) today.

The latest iteration of the Falcon 9 rocket has around 100 upgrades, providing greater power, safety and allowing it to be re-used. Multi-usage is a critical plank of the technology that SpaceX hopes will pave the way for bringing space travel to the masses.

Read more: SpaceX launches NASA planet-hunting telescope into space

The so-called "Block-5" rocket is the first to comply with NASA standards to carry agency staff to the International Space Station. However, NASA requires seven successful flights before the new rocket receives final sign-off for a manned mission.

SpaceX, the brainchild of billionaire Tesla boss Musk, did not provide further details on the reason for postponing Thursday's launch.

Read more: SpaceX is plotting a funding round which would boost its value to $24bn

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