NASA's Ares 1-X launch: On-again, off-again, on-again, off....

NASA's Ares 1-X launch is delayed... Again....

"Rosy fingered Dawn" greets NASA's Ares 1-X Tuesday morning as the agency prepared to launch the test rocket.

NASA's theme song for the day: "Momma Told Me There'd Be Days Like This."

NASA's Ares 1-X is still on the ground.

First it was weather. That cleared.

Then as the countdown moved along, technicians at the pad had to apply brute force to remove a cover protecting some sensors at the tip of the nose cone. Lots of tugs on the parachute cord tied to the cover finally freed it -- to much applause in the control room.

"After hundreds of tests, that's the first time we saw that failure mode," said Jon Cowart, the Ares 1-x deputy mission manager.

Then, a freighter offshore moved into the no-sail zone the Kennedy Space Center sets up before each launch. Apparently the ship's captain didn't get the "keep out" message.

Finally at 9: 46 a.m., with 2 minutes 39 seconds left in the countdown, clouds once again intruded. The hole that opened up at 8:18 a.m. vanished. Without the freighter delay, the launch would have proceeded.

Now, another oncoming hole in the clouds may not hold up as long as people hoped. The next clear band in the clouds is slated to arrive after noon, the end of the mission's launch window. Oh yes, and winds have picked up at the pad, violating for now launch requirements.

Oh well...

See also:

NASA’s Ares 1-X rocket gives launch day a whole new look

NASA’s Ares 1-X launch reset for about 9:24 a.m. EDT

Russia becomes world's taxicab to space

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