SpaceX is delaying the planned launch on Friday of an unmanned Falcon 9 rocket, which will carry a cargo ship to the International Space Station for NASA, to early January, officials said on Thursday. Liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida had been planned for 1:22 p.m. EST, but an undisclosed technical issue with the rocket prompted SpaceX, as the company is known, to postpone the flight until Jan 6. The problem surfaced during routine prelaunch test firing of the rocket’s engines, SpaceX spokesman John Taylor said. “The test did not run the full duration," he said. "The data suggests we could push forward without a second attempt, but out of an abundance of caution, we are opting to execute a second static fire test prior to launch.” SpaceX, founded and run by technology entrepreneur Elon Musk, is one of two companies hired by NASA to fly cargo to the space station following NASA's retirement of its space shuttle fleet in 2011. The other company, Orbital Sciences, has been temporarily grounded after its Antares rocket exploded seconds after liftoff Oct. 28 from Wallops Island, Virginia, destroying a Cygnus cargo ship. The space station, a $100 billion research laboratory that flies about 260 miles (418 km) above Earth, is in no danger of running out of food or supplies for its six-member crew, NASA said.
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