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Elon Musk’s SpaceX Scrubs Mission At Last Second For Unexpected Reason


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Photo: Brendan Smialowski (Getty Images)

Elon Musk’s SpaceX was forced to scrap its planned rocket launch this weekend after a cruise ship sailed too close to the mission.

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Just over 30 seconds before the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was due to take off from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, an operator announced it would be held because of a “ship in the hazard area.”

“We did have a cruise liner making its way toward the ‘no-go’ zone that the Coast Guard was unable to clear out,” Jessie Anderson, SpaceX production manager, said during a live broadcast. A no-go zone, essentially, is an area where no one can enter during a launch. This protects everyone in the area should something go wrong.

Anderson continued that the ship is in good condition and so is the payload. The launch — which will send an Earth observation satellite to the Italian Space Agency — had already been called off three other times because of poor weather.

Hazard areas are set up around launch sites for safety reasons, and access to them is heavily controlled ahead of rocket launches.

Right now, if everything goes as planned, SpaceX is gearing up to relaunch the COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation FM2 mission on Monday, Feb. 7 at 6:11 pm EST. The other two launches were scheduled to launch earlier in January.

According to Florida Today, the Coast Guard is investigating the incident. Two Royal Caribbean cruise liners were set to leave the port on Sunday, but it’s not clear if either was the one that entered the “no-go” zone.

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The delay marks a rocky start for what’s expected to be a busy year for Musk’s SpaceX. They’re set to launch 52 million in 2022 alone. That’s the most since the company was founded 20 years ago.

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