SpaceX calls off Sunday’s rocket launch citing technical issues

falcon 9 crash spacexbarge
SpaceX’s latest attempt to land one of its rockets on a platform floating in the sea came undone Sunday when the launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida had to be postponed due to technical problems.

Although the mission’s primary goal is to launch a satellite for monitoring solar storms, all eyes are on whether the team can bring the rocket safely back to Earth.

The planned launch was called off less than three minutes before lift-off following the discovery of an issue with radar systems designed to track the rocket’s flight.

Elon Musk said his team will have another go at sending the Falcon 9 rocket skyward on Monday at 6.07pm ET.

Sunday’s aborted launch comes a month after SpaceX’s first try at bringing its rocket back in one piece. Unfortunately that effort ended in failure when the 14-story-tall rocket came down too heavily onto the floating platform, causing it to explode on impact.

“Rocket made it to the drone spaceport ship, but landed hard,” Musk tweeted at the time, adding, “Close, but no cigar this time. Bodes well for the future tho.”

Information released later showed that while Falcon 9’s grid fins worked “extremely well” from hypersonic velocity to subsonic, the catastrophic touchdown was caused by the vehicle running out of hydraulic fluid just prior to its attempted landing.

The team behind the ambitious project is under no illusions as to the scale of the challenge it’s taken on, after all, bringing an enormous rocket safely back down onto a 91 x 52-meter floating barge has never been done before. Musk says they hope to nail it some time this year with one of 12 or so planned launches.

SpaceX’s Falcon rocket and Dragon capsule already operate together to deliver cargo to the International Space Station. If it can succeed in its aim to create a reusable system for its rocket, space travel costs could be significantly reduced.

Hopefully on Monday we’ll see it take a big step toward its goal.

Cars

Bloodhound’s plan to build a 1,000-mph car has run out of gas

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has officially shut down. The upside is you can now buy a 135,000-horsepower car powered by a jet engine and a cluster of rockets for $319,000.
Gaming

Have a spooky dance party at an abandoned mansion with Fortnite's new challenges

The Fortnite season 7, week 2 challenges have arrived in Battle Royale. From searching for chests to dancing off at an abandoned mansion, here's how to do them and the rewards you get for completing them.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Gaming

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now, from Super Mario Odyssey to Fortnite.
Emerging Tech

Postmates’ to roll out Minion-like autonomous delivery robots in 2019

Postmates is about to employ a cute little robot to work alongside its human delivery personnel. Called Serve, the wheel-based bot can carry items weighing up to 50 pounds and has a range of 30 miles.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Rise of the Machines: Here’s how much robots and A.I. progressed in 2018

2018 has generated no shortage of news, and the worlds of A.I. and robotics are no exception. Here are our picks for the most exciting, game changing examples of both we saw this year.
Emerging Tech

Are e-cigarettes safe? Here’s what the most recent science says

Ecigarettes are widely regarded and advertised as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit. How safe are these cigarette alternatives? We went deep into the recent scientific literature to…
Emerging Tech

Thrill-seekers will be able to pilot themselves in a giant drone as soon as 2019

Want to hitch a ride on a giant drone? The startup Lift Aircraft is gearing up to let paying customers fly its 18-rotor giant drones over assorted scenic landscapes across the U.S.
Emerging Tech

CRISPR gene therapy regulates hunger, staves off severe obesity in mice

Researchers from UC San Francisco have demonstrated how CRISPR gene editing can be used to prevent severe obesity in mice, without making a single edit to the mouse's genome. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

Capture app saves money by 3D scanning objects using iPhone’s TrueDepth camera

Capture is a new iPhone app created by the Y Combinator-backed startup Standard Cyborg. It allows anyone to perform 3D scans of objects and share them with buddies. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

Parker Solar Probe captures first image from within the atmosphere of the sun

NASA has shared the first image from inside the atmosphere of the sun taken by the Parker Solar Probe. The probe made the closest ever approach to a star, gathering data which scientists have been interpreting and released this week.
Emerging Tech

Say cheese: InSight lander posts a selfie from the surface of Mars

NASA's InSight mission to Mars has commemorated its arrival by posting a selfie. The selfie is a composite of 11 different images which were taken by one of its instruments, the Instrument Deployment Camera.