Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is to attempt, for the third time, the maiden launch of its Falcon 1 rocket on 9 February. The second attempt to launch from Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific on 19 December was abandoned after a first-stage tank deformed when fuel was drained. A replacement stage was flown to Hawaii on 19 December aboard a Lockheed Martin C-5 Galaxy, and is being barged to the launch site on Omelek Island.

Analysis has confirmed a faulty pressurisation valve resulted in a vacuum condition that caused the deformation. “Although we have triple-redundant pressure sensors and dual-redundant pressurisation valves, when this component shorted it caused the valve controller on board to reboot, eliminating the redundancy,” says chief executive Elon Musk.

Source: Flight International