SpaceX Delays First Private Launch To International Space Station

SpaceX, the space travel company expected to be the first private firm to attempt to launch its spacecraft to the International Space Station, has delayed its maiden voyage by four days.

Previously, the company said it would launch an unmanned cargo to the Space Station on May 3 – that has now been pushed back to May 7. SpaceX spokeswoman Kirstin Brost Grantham explained all:

“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.”

Company founder and CEO, Paypal entrepreneur Elon Musk, tweeted that he was “pushing launch back approx a week to do more testing on Dragon docking code. New date pending coordination with NASA.”

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SpaceX will attempt to carry out a fly-by of the ISS and a berthing operation involving its reusable spacecraft, the gumdrop-shaped Dragon capsule. The crew aboard the ISS will use a robotic arm to dock the Dragon. It’s been confirmed that capsule will transport 521 kilograms (1,148 pounds) of cargo to the space outpost, and will also aim to return with a 660 kg (1,460 lb) load to Earth.

SpaceX is planning its first crewed flight in 2015, when it expects to have a fully certified, human-rated launch escape system incorporated into the spacecraft.

[Via USA Today]