SpaceX looking at July 5 rocket launch after two aborted attempts

SpaceX had been enjoying a decent run of successful launches since resuming its operations in January after a four-month lay-off caused by September’s rocket explosion.

But it came to an end on the night of Sunday, July 2, when Elon Musk’s private space company had to abort a mission at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida just seconds from lift-off. It happened again on Monday, and now the team is hoping for a case of “third time lucky,” possibly on the evening of Wednesday, July 5.

Sunday’s night’s aborted mission was put down to a computer guidance issue, while the cause of July 4’s abandonment, which like Sunday’s effort occurred within 10 seconds of lift-off, is yet to be fully determined.

Desperate to avoid any major mishap along the lines of last year’s launchpad calamity, SpaceX said it would be performing thorough checks before its third launch attempt, which, when it eventually takes place, will put  the Intelsat 35e communications satellite into geostationary orbit.

“Out of an abundance of caution, SpaceX will be spending the Fourth of July doing a full review of the rocket and launch pad systems,” the company said on its website. “The next launch opportunity for Intelsat 35e … is now no earlier than Wednesday.”

When the mission does eventually takes place, the large amount of energy needed to deliver the satellite into geostationary orbit (much higher than the Falcon 9’s usual low-Earth orbit missions) means the rocket won’t have enough fuel to bring it back to terra firma for one of those awesome landings SpaceX fans have come to know and love. The company has so far achieved 13 launch-and-land combos.

Better news

There was better news for the SpaceX earlier in the week when it successfully welcomed back its Dragon capsule, the first to make more than one mission. The capsule delivered supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) in early June and stayed docked till its return voyage, splashing into the Pacific Ocean south-west of Los Angeles on Monday, July 3.

“Dragon’s been an incredible spacecraft,” current ISS astronaut Jack Fischer told mission control shortly after the the capsule left its outpost, adding, “I could even say it was slathered in awesome sauce. This baby had almost no problems, which is an incredible feat considering it’s the first reuse of a Dragon vehicle.”

This particular Dragon capsule made its first mission to the ISS in 2014 and forms part of the reusable space transportation system being developed by SpaceX in a bid to significantly reduce the cost of space travel.

Emerging Tech

Rocket Lab steps into spotlight with its first commercial rocket launch

Rocket Lab has deployed multiple small satellites into orbit in its first notable commercial launch. Its New Zealand-born boss said the success means "rapid and reliable access to space is now a reality for small satellites."
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.

Get your Sagan on with 60 awe-inspiring photos of the final frontier

Few things instill a sense of wonder quite like the final frontier. The best space photos show off the beauty of Earth, our solar system, and the far corners of the universe. Here are our current favorites.

Lime clocks 20 million rides as its bikes and scooters arrive in Oz

Lime only launched its app-based scooter and bikesharing service in 2017 but its riders have already completed 20 million rides, with half of them taking place in the last two months alone. And now it's launching in Australia.
Emerging Tech

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sale smashes online shopping records

The annual online shopping frenzy that is Singles' Day this year raked in $30.8 billion, up from $25 billion last time around. The Alibaba-organized event generates more in sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Emerging Tech

Watch this lab-grown heart tissue beat just like the real thing

A team of researchers in Germany have used stem cells to create a lab-grown human heart tissue which actually beats, as well as responding to drugs in the same way as the real thing.
Emerging Tech

Michigan’s former transportation chief has some advice for wannabe smart cities

After 31 years as Michigan’s transportation director, Kirk Steudle has seen it all, particularly with smart city projects. He spoke with Digital Trends recently about what makes smart cities work, and offers advice along the way.
Emerging Tech

Shipping crate filled with 3D-printing robots may be the future of construction

Autodesk has created a robot-filled shipping container which may represent the future of construction work. The crate contains two robots able to 3D print custom components for building sites.
Emerging Tech

Sticking these tiny needles in your eye may help fight blindness

An eye patch covered in tiny needles sounds like a torture device. In fact, it's a potential new medical treatment for eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Bottle-flipping robots may be the most millennial thing we’ve ever seen

Until drones start vaping, you're unlikely to see anything more millennial than a recent contest in Japan in which robots competed to pull off some seriously impressive bottle-flipping feats.
Emerging Tech

New simulation shows how Elon Musk’s internet satellite network might work

Elon Musk has the dream of building a network for conveying internet traffic via thousands of satellites. A new simulation created by a computer scientist looks at how feasible the idea is.

Car parts maker ZF is using drones to deliver components to its factories

ZF recently became the first entity in Germany to receive approval to use drones to deliver spare parts, and the company now uses them to deliver parts from its central warehouses to its workshops.
Emerging Tech

Meet the 4K selfie drone that folds like a book, follows you like a paparrazzo

Having a drone that could follow you everywhere while taking high-quality images without crashing has been a flight of fantasy. With ZeroZero's Hover 2, not only can you have a fully autonomous 4K selfie drone, you can have it for $400.
Emerging Tech

These Alexa-stuffed retro phones don’t listen until you take them off the hook

Looking for an Amazon Echo with a cool vintage touch? Los Angeles-based Grain Design is taking old, non-working antique phones and transforming them into amazing Alexa smart speakers.