The trial cargo run of Space Exploration Technologies or SpaceX to the International Space Station (ISS) has been reportedly delayed for at least a week.
The company is preparing for an upcoming test flight in which they will attempt to send the Dragon spacecraft from Florida on a 21-day mission to the ISS.
According to Michael Suffredini, ISS program manager, Dragon capsule will carry 521 kilograms (1,148 pounds) of cargo for the space lab and will also try and bring back a 660 kg (1,455 lb) load to Earth.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter, “Am pushing launch back approx a week to do more testing on Dragon docking code. New date pending coordination with @NASA.”
SpaceX has successfully sent a test Dragon capsule into orbit and back in December 2010.
However, going to the space station which orbits about 240 miles above Earth requires precision.
Due to some hardware and software issues which need to be sorted, the SpaceX Falcon 9 and Dragon which were scheduled to take off on April 30 to the ISS have been pushed back.
SpaceX spokesperson Kirstin Brost wrote, “After reviewing our recent progress, it was clear that we needed more time to finish hardware-in-the-loop testing and properly review and follow up on all data.
"While it is still possible that we could launch on May 3, it would be wise to add a few more days of margin in case things take longer than expected. As a result, our launch is likely to be pushed back by one week, pending coordination with NASA.”
NASA selects SpaceX to transport cargo to ISS
SpaceX is the first private company to fly to the research complex which is owned by the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan, and Canada.
After the retirement of the shuttle program NASA selected SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft to take over the job of transporting cargo to and from the Space Station.
While initial flights will focus on cargo, SpaceX has been designed to transport crew and manned flights to the ISS are likely to begin in three years.
But Musk and SpaceX have more ambitious plans and want to go to Mars. In a recent interview with Forbes, Musk explained, “I’m okay with going to the moon, but we’ve seen that movie before and remakes are never as good. It would be more significant to have a base on the Moon, rather than just going back.”