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Falcon 1 launch postponed
Posted: Mon, Dec 19, 2005, 7:57 PM ET (0057 GMT)
Falcon 1 on pad at Omelek Island (SpaceX) The inaugural launch of SpaceX's Falcon 1 small launch vehicle has been delayed until early 2006 because of a problem with the rocket. The Falcon 1 was scheduled to lift off from Omelek Island, part of Kwajalein Atoll, at 2 pm EST (1900 GMT) Monday, carrying the Falconsat 2 satellite into low Earth orbit. While initial reports indicated that the launch was momentarily delayed because of high winds, SpaceX officials later said the launch was scrubbed after technicians discovered a "structural issue" with a fuel tank in the rocket's first stage. The problem will take some time to correct, and the company now expects the launch to be delayed until at least late January. A launch attempt in late November was scrubbed when an open valve allowed liquid oxygen to escape from the rocket during a weather-induced delay. SpaceX, established by Internet entrepreneur Elon Musk, is developing the Falcon line of vehicles with the hopes of reducing the cost of space access. Musk has invested approximately $100 million of his own money in the company.
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