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SpaceX catches malfunction, delays launch of Dragon capsule until early Tuesday


A NASA rendering of SpaceX's Dragon capsule as it prepares to berth with the International Space Station.

For those wondering what became of SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, which was scheduled to launch last weekend and berth with the International Space Station: There was a minor malfunction.

But it’s no big deal, and the spacecraft is now scheduled to launch early Tuesday morning, the Hawthorne-based company said.

“Today’s launch was aborted when the flight computer detected slightly high pressure in the engine 5 combustion chamber,” the company said in a brief statement on Saturday. “We have discovered root cause and repairs are underway.”

CBS says the company has fixed the problem, and liftoff is rescheduled for 3:44 a.m. Eastern time -- which is 12:44 a.m. here.

Perched atop a Falcon 9 rocket, the Dragon capsule is designed to blast off into Earth’s orbit, connect with the ISS and dock, allowing delivery of food and supplies to the space station’s occupants. Then if all goes according to plan, it will disengage and return to Earth.

Its success could mean a boon in private spaceflight, which in turn could lead to a big economic boost for Southern California. Currently, more than 1,000 people are employed at SpaceX’s Hawthorne facility.

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