SpaceX cancels Monday's rocket launch due to technical issue

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - SpaceX has cancelled a Falcon 9 rocket launch that was scheduled for Monday, citing a technical problem.

The Falcon 9 rocket was scheduled to blast off at 4:58 p.m. Monday. Officials said the delay is due to a technical issue. The launch has been rescheduled for no earlier than April 18.

The rocket was set to carry a Dragon supply ship into orbit with 5,000 pounds of equipment, crew supplies and vehicle hardware for the International Space Station.

"I think it's a cool program and something cool for Florida, too," resident Chris Noble said.

Noble is one of hundreds of Space Coast residents who were hoping to catch a glimpse of the rocket launch.

"It's amazing. I hope we bring more of them back here and bring some jobs," resident Scott Suldo said.

Local space industry advocates like Dale Ketcham, with the University of Central Florida, said any job creation would be indirect.

"This is the commercial sector; they launch with many fewer people. You don't need a standing army to process this vehicle," Ketcham said.

But Ketcham said as it becomes less expensive to get cargo into space, more flights will be scheduled, and that could mean more jobs.

"The jobs are generated on the payload -- the processing of the data and all the stuff that's going be brought about by making it cheap to get to space," Ketcham said.

That effort could be helped with a reusable rocket. The next launch includes an experiment in which they will try to bring part of it back and land it in the ocean for recovery.

NASA spent much of the weekend debating whether to proceed with the launch, because a critical backup computer failed outside the ISS Friday. Mission managers decided Sunday to stick with the plan but then scrubbed the flight around 3:45 p.m. Monday.

SpaceX is one of two American shippers hired by NASA.