CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla – One day after Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) announced that the launch of the company’s Falcon 9 rocket would be delayed – NASA has released a statement from the space agency’s associate administrator for human exploration operations – William Gerstenmaier. A new launch date, May 7, has been announced that could see history made at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s (CCAFS) Space Launch Complex-40.
“We appreciate that SpaceX is taking the necessary time to help ensure the success of this historic flight. We will continue to work with SpaceX in preparing for the May 7 launch to the International Space Station,” Gerstenmaier said.
NASA has coordinated with the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the entity that operates the launch range to prepare for this flight. When the launch occurs, it will utilize the Falcon 9 to send the second of its Dragon spacecraft to attempt both a rendezvous and berthing to the International Space Station. While on orbit, 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 mission 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.