Rocket test postponed by mechanical problems

The Associated PressAugust 28, 2009 

— A mechanical failure forced a NASA contractor on Thursday to call off the first test firing of the main part of NASA's powerful new moon rocket.

The test wasn't rescheduled as officials scrambled to learn the cause of the failure.

Alliant Techsystems Inc. called off the rocket burn with just 20 seconds left on the countdown clock. Operators cited failure of a power unit that drives hydraulic tilt controls for the rocket's nozzle. The rocket was anchored to the ground in a horizontal position for the test.

It was a setback for a carefully staged, $75 million event that drew thousands to watch.

There was no indication anything was wrong with the rocket itself, which packs 1 million pounds of chemical propellant, enough to boost a 321-foot-long vehicle 190,000 feet into the atmosphere.

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