California-based Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) announced today that it has delayed the launch of its “Dragon” space capsule.
SpaceX’s capsule was scheduled to launch on February 7 aboard its Falcon 9 on a mission to the International Space Station, but the company had to delay the launch so that more engineering work could be done.
“In preparation for the upcoming launch, SpaceX continues to conduct extensive testing and analysis,” spokeswoman Kirstin Brost Grantham said in an email announcement today. “We believe that there are a few areas that will benefit from additional work and will optimize the safety and success of this mission.
The company isn’t saying just how long the delay would last, be it a few days, a few weeks or even longer, but Grantham said that SpaceX is working with NASA to determine the best time to launch the test flight.
“We are now working with NASA to establish a new target launch date, but note that we will continue to test and review data,” Grantham explained. “We will launch when the vehicle is ready.”
SpaceX’s Dragon capsule is intended to deliver various essentials to the International Space Station including food, water, equipment, provisions and science experiments. The company is also working on a modified version of the capsule, DragonRider, with the goal of possibly launching astronauts to the ISS within 3 to 5 years.
[Image credit: Illustration by NASA/SpaceX]