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New privately owned rocket's launch date delayed to June

Originally set to launch on May 28, the privately built Falcon 9 rocket will take flight no earlier than June 2, SpaceX officials said.

Flight hardware for the inaugural launch of Falcon 9 rocket undergoes final integration in February in the hangar at SpaceX's Cape Canaveral launch site in Florida.

SpaceX/File

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The inaugural test launch of a new commercial rocket has slipped from May 28 to no earlier than June 2, according to its builder Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX).

 

The first Falcon 9 rocket, assembled on the SpaceX launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, is awaiting U.S. Air Force approval of its flight termination system, an explosive charge designed to destroy the rocket if it veers off course during launch.

 

But the Hawthorne, Calif.-based company attributed the most recent delay of the Falcon 9 launch debut to changes in the Cape's crowded manifest.

IN PICTURES: Preparing for blast off

"Looks like the delay of the [Air Force Delta 4] GPS satellite launch has taken up a lot of resources at the Cape and in turn pushed the first test launch of Falcon 9 from May 28/29 to no earlier than June 2/3," SpaceX spokeswoman Emily Shanklin said in an e-mail sent to reporters late Tuesday.

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