AP: SpaceX Flight Off Until Late March

AP: SpaceX Flight Off Until Late March

The Associated Press (AP) is reporting this afternoon that the test flight of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) will not take place until the end of March.  It had been scheduled for February 7.

SpaceX sent an email to reporters on Monday stating that the flight test would be postponed, but did not announce a new date.   In that email, SpaceX spokeswoman Kirstin Brost Grantham said that the company believed there were “a few areas that will benefit from additional work and will optimize the safety and success of this mission,” and the company was working with NASA to set a new date.

Marcia Dunn of the AP reports (as published via the Washington Times website) that today “officials confirmed the launch would not occur until late March.”  No further details were provided as to whether the officials are from NASA or SpaceX.

This flight test is intended to demonstrate that SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft can be launched to and berth with the ISS.   It is the combination of the last two of three test flights the company is to conduct as part of its effort to build a space transportation system to deliver cargo, and someday crews, to the ISS.   NASA is anxious to have SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corp., the other company participating in the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, begin sending cargo to the ISS this year.   The termination of the space shuttle program last year ended NASA’s ability to send people or cargo to the ISS. 

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