The ongoing SpaceX International Space Station resupply mission has ground to an unforeseen (but most likely temporary) halt, thanks to a helium leak that threatened the safety of the astronauts involved. This latest report was received earlier today and published on the Register website.
The following statement concerning the incident was relayed to the press via Elon Musk, the company that built the Falcon rocket which was to be used in the resupply mission: "Today's launch has been scrubbed due to a Helium leak on Falcon 9's first stage. A fix will be implemented by the next launch opportunity on Friday April 18, though weather on that date isn't ideal."
The helium leaking incident signaled a serious setback for the company, as well as for the space program itself, which has fallen victim to severe cutbacks during the Obama administration, as a result of budget deficit issues accruing from the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The ongoing third resupply mission had been intended to relieve the suffering station. With the present delay, this means that the astronauts will have to make do as best as they can with their existing supplies of food and equipment until such time as a new resupply mission can be scheduled and safely accomplished. Indeed, the rocket that would have carried out the mission contained nearly two and a half tons of equipment that would have handily resupplied the space station.
However, this is not the end of the mission. The next launch window is set to open up on this coming Thursday. All indications are that this next resupply launch will fare better than the last one. Scientists and technicians are scrambling to ensure that a repeat of this latest setback does not occur. Meanwhile, all eyes are on the International Space Station as it copes with the delay.