SpaceX scrubs rocket launch just moments before liftoff

Turns out third time wasn't the charm.

After nearly an hour of delays Sunday, SpaceX scrubbed its Falcon 9 rocket launch — again — just moments before it was slated to blast off at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

In a tweet, SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk blamed the decision on a “low thrust alarm.”

“Rising oxygen temps due to hold for boat and helium bubble triggered alarm,” Musk said in the tweet.

The final scrub call came at 4:34 p.m. PST. It was the Hawthorne company's third such delay in the last week.

About 3:45 p.m., just one minute and 33 seconds before its original scheduled liftoff time, a voice intoned, “Hold, hold, hold.”

Musk tweeted several minutes later that the Air Force had placed the launch on hold because of a boat that had entered the “keep out zone.”

John Insprucker, Falcon 9's product director, said on the live webcast of the event that SpaceX did not have another launch date planned.

He said the rocket was safe and had gone through a “standard recovery sequence.”

The Falcon 9 was intended to deliver a commercial communications satellite into orbit.

The satellite, SES-9, will provide services such as broadcasting and video capabilities, maritime connectivity and high-speed broadband for more than 20 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. It is owned by Luxembourg-based satellite operator SES.

SpaceX also hoped to place the rocket on a drone ship in the ocean, though it had predicted
that it wouldn't stick the landing.

The rocket will use a lot of fuel to push the satellite into a high orbit near the equator, and the first-stage booster will also face the additional challenge of turning itself around and correcting its course to land on the drone ship.

Samantha Masunaga