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SpaceX suddenly aborts rocket launch due to errant cruise ship

SpaceX called off its latest mission just 33 seconds from launch on Sunday evening.

However, it wasn’t because of an issue with SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. Rather, the team spotted a cruise liner in the so-called “hazard area” close to the launch site in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

“Hold, hold, hold,” Mission Control called out just half a minute before the SpaceX rocket was due to lift off carrying a COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation 2 Earth-observation satellite for the Italian Space Agency. Seconds after the abort, an operative confirmed there was “a ship in the hazard area.”

The livestream’s anchor then elaborated, explaining that a vessel had been spotted “making its way toward the no-go zone that the Coast Guard was unable to clear out in time for T-zero,” adding that both the rocket and the payload were “still healthy.”

The video below shows the moment that the mission was aborted.

COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation FM2 Mission

It’s not clear why SpaceX wasn’t already aware of the ship’s movements, though the company may offer more information on the hiccup later this evening.

The next launch opportunity — assuming no cruise liners get in the way — is on Monday, January 31 at 6:11 p.m. ET. Check out this page for more information on how to watch a livestream of the launch.

The mission has already suffered three delays in as many days due to poor weather conditions around the launch site.

The COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation 2 satellite mission will be SpaceX’s fourth orbital launch in a year that’s expected to be its busiest to date, with around 40 missions already planned.

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Trevor Mogg
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