Hawthorne, California-based Space Exploration Technologies Corp., better known as SpaceX, has announced a delay in its mission to send its Dragon capsule to the International Space Station (ISS). The mission was due to launch on Feb. 7.
The company confirmed the delay in launching what is the first privately-built capsule to the ISS on Monday and said it was working with NASA to fix another date. As of now, it is believed the launch has been pushed to the middle of 2012.
We believe that there are a few areas that will benefit from additional work and will optimize the safety and success of this mission, spokeswoman Kirstin Brost Grantham said in a statement. We are now working with NASA to establish a new target launch date, but note that we will continue to test and review data, she added.
We will launch when the vehicle is ready, Grantham concluded.
In December, 2010, SpaceX became the first private company to successfully send a spacecraft into orbit and have it safely return, when they launched and recovered the Dragon. Since then, the company has been working on the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon spacecraft to deliver cargo to the ISS. The company has a $1.6-billion contract to tow cargo in 12 flights to the space station for NASA. If Dragon does successfully reach the ISS, it will be the first commercial vehicle to arrive at the Internal Space Station.
The launch, however, is delayed now and pushed in the middle of 2012.