Delay Possible for 1st Private Launch to Space Station: Report

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the first Dragon spacecraft bound for the International Space Station is seen restingatop SpaceX’s launch site in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the first Dragon spacecraft bound for the International Space Station is seen resting atop SpaceX’s launch site in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (Image credit: SpaceX)

The first commercial spacecraft to visit the International Space Station will likely launch a bit later than planned, according to news reports.

The private spaceflight company Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., is targeting May 7 for the liftoff of its unmanned Dragon space capsule on an unmanned trip to the station. But the flight could be delayed to at least May 10, if not later, report CBS News and Spaceflight Now.

There is no official word yet from SpaceX or NASA about the delay.

Dragon is due to launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. During the test flight, the spacecraft will carry food, supplies and scientific equipment for the astronauts living on the orbiting outpost.

The flight was previouslydelayed from an April 30 launch date to allow more time for tests of Dragon's flight software. The new delay is also meant to allow for further checkouts, CBS News' William Harwood reports.

SpaceX conducted a test firing of its Falcon 9 booster engines April 30. The test went successfully on its second try, after a first attempt that same day was caused by an apparent computer glitch.

SpaceX has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to fly 12 cargo-delivery missions to the space station with Dragon. The capsule is scheduled to be the first spacecraft to fly under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, which has funded the development of private vehicles to fill the gap in cargo services left by the space shuttle retirement.

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