SpaceX, the California-based company delayed the launch of its computerized resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) by four days. NASA officials announced yesterday that the company’s Dragon cargo capsule is now due to take off upon a Falcon 9 rocket on April 30, at 4.22 a.m EDT (08.22 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
NASA representatives wrote in an official update that SpaceX will exploit the delay by performing a static fire test and multiple pre-flight checkouts. Falcon 9 and Dragon capsule are scheduled to be ready for an earlier launch trial but April 30 is the most reasonable date due to the station and orbital mechanics restrictions, for both NASA and SpaceX, NASA added.
SpaceX’s fly record under its Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA will reach the number 17 with the upcoming mission. SpaceX has also a commercial-crew deal with NASA, whose terms the space agency will fulfill using the Falcon 9 and a staffed variant of Dragon.
SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule launch to the ISS delayed to April 30
Crew Dragon has had its first test mission to the ISS last month known as Demo-1, but the successful six-day-flight was unstaffed. However, Demo-2 will have aboard two NASA astronauts, and the mission could happen as soon as this summer. It is most likely that operational contracted missions to the space station will follow, possibly by the end of the year.
Another company holding a NASA commercial-crew contract is Boeing. The air force giant plans to launch its first capsule, which will be with no crew, to the ISS. That is called CST-100 Starliner and would launch in August.
Northrop Grumman’s private cargo capsule, Cygnus is already anchored to the ISS. The spacecraft arrived at the space station in the morning of April 19. The above-mentioned company also holds a NASA resupply deal. NASA will hold a news conference on Monday, April 22 at 11 a.m EDT (15.00 GMT) to talk about the science cargo that Dragon will bring to the ISS on the upcoming mission.