CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla –Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has opted to delay the launch of one of the company’s Falcon 9 rocket with its Dragon spacecraft payload to the International Space Station (ISS) to no-earlier-than May 3. The launch date could potentially slip further than that. The decision was made after the NewSpace firm checked where the launch vehicle was in terms of being processed for the history-making launch.
“After reviewing our recent progress, it was clear that we needed more time to finish hardware-in-the-loop testing and properly review and follow up on all data,” said SpaceX’s Director of Communications Kirstin Brost Grantham. “While it is still possible that we could launch on May 3rd, it would be wise to add a few more days of margin in case things take longer than expected. As a result, our launch is likely to be pushed back by one week, pending coordination with NASA.”
SpaceX had announced last month that it would attempt to conduct the launch on April 30 at12:22 p.m. EST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex-40 (SLC-40) located in Florida.
When the launch occurs, it will utilize the company’s Falcon 9 rocket to send the second of its Dragon spacecraft to attempt both a rendezvous and berthing to the ISS. SpaceX will work to test out a number of the spacecraft’s vital systems during this flight in preparation for regular resupply flights to the orbiting laboratory.
This flight will actually combine the objectives of the second and third demonstration flights of the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services or COTS contract – into one. Under the $1.6 billion contract that SpaceX has with NASA the company needs to fly three demonstration flights and nine resupply flights to the space station. The company requested and received approval from NASA to combine the two remaining demonstration flights into one.