This undated photo provided by SpaceX shows the company’s Starship rocket at its launch site in Boca Chica, Texas. (SpaceX via AP)

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (AP) — SpaceX canceled the first attempt to launch its giant rocket Monday due to a refueling issue.

Elon Musk and his company had planned to launch the 400-foot (122-meter) Starship rocket from the southern tip of Texas, near the Mexican border.

The countdown was stopped at the 40 second mark due to a stuck valve in the first stage booster. Launch controllers were unable to repair the frozen valve in time and canceled the attempt. The countdown continued and the refueling was over, like a dress rehearsal.

There were no people or satellites on board for this attempt and another takeoff will not be attempted until at least Wednesday.

The company plans to use the Starship rocket to send astronauts and cargo to the Moon and, ultimately, Mars.

On the eve of launch, cars, RVs and even bicycles and horses cluttered the only road to the launch pad, where the stainless steel rocket soared through brush and grassland. Fans posed in front of the giant letters spelling out Starbase at the entrance to the SpaceX complex, and in front of the rocket 2 miles down the road, which ends in the Gulf.

On Monday, onlookers were barred from the area, instead saturating a beach about 6 miles away on South Padre Island.

Ernesto and María Carreón drove two hours from Mission, Texas, with their two daughters, ages 5 and 7, to witness the takeoff.

“I got sad. They got sad,” when the launch was canceled, María Carreón said.

They won’t be able to return for the next attempt, but they plan to spend Monday at the beach.


The Associated Press Health and Science Department is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science and Education Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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