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Mission to space station has orbit problem

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., March 1 (UPI) — A Dragon supply capsule launched from Florida Friday morning atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is experiencing problems in orbit, SpaceX said.

The capsule, intended to deliver 1,200 pound of cargo to the International Space Station, was showing an anomaly in its thrusters, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“It appears that although it reached Earth orbit, Dragon is experiencing some type of problem right now,” John Insprucker, Falcon 9 project director, told viewers on SpaceX’s live webcast. “We’ll have to learn the nature of what happened.”

Shortly after that announcement the live webcast was shut down.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk posted a message on Twitter.

“Issue with Dragon thruster pods. System inhibiting three of four from initializing. About to command inhibit override.”

The Falcon 9 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral at 10:10 EST, with the Dragon capsule was scheduled to dock with the ISS Saturday although how the thruster issue might affect that is unclear, officials said.

“One thruster pod is running,” SpaceX said in a statement. “Two are preferred to take the next step which is to deploy the solar arrays. We are working to bring up the other two in order to plan the next series of burns to get to station.”

This is SpaceX’s third supply mission to the ISS, following a demonstration mission in May and a first official mission in October.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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