SpaceX flight to ISS could be late March: NASA

February 2, 2012
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, bearing brown and black scorch marks from its fiery tour in orbit, is pictured in 2011. The first test flight of a commercial spacecraft to the International Space Station could happen in late March, NASA said on Thursday. The Dragon spacecraft, owned by US company SpaceX, could launch no earlier than March 20.

The first test flight of a commercial spacecraft to the International Space Station could happen in late March, NASA said on Thursday.

The Dragon spacecraft, owned by US company , could launch no earlier than March 20 but a more fixed date would follow in the next couple of weeks, NASA spokesman Mike Suffredini told reporters.

The launch, the first-ever bid by a private company to dock at the orbiting lab, had been set for February but was postponed for technical reasons.

SpaceX -- owned by Elon Musk, an Internet entrepreneur and founder of PayPal -- made history with its Dragon launch in December 2010, becoming the first commercial outfit to send a spacecraft into orbit and back.

SpaceX and several other companies are competing to build and operate a private capsule that could tote astronauts and cargo to the ISS, after US space agency NASA retired its last year.

The main goals of SpaceX's next flight include a fly-by of the ISS at a distance of two miles (three kilometers) and a berthing operation in which the Dragon will approach the ISS and the crew aboard the orbiting outpost will use the ISS to help it latch on.

After the test docking, the Dragon aims to detach from the station for its return to Earth and eventually splash down in the Pacific off the coast of California.

Explore further: US space capsule launch set for Wednesday

Related Stories

US space capsule launch set for Wednesday

December 7, 2010

A US company has received the go-ahead to launch its first space capsule into orbit Wednesday, in a key test for the future of commercial space flight as NASA looks to end its shuttle program.

SpaceX looking to launch next Dragon spacecraft - to the ISS

December 14, 2010

With the success of the first and second launches of the Falcon 9 rocket as well as the successful recovery of the Dragon spacecraft, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has stated its intent to accelerate the pace of ...

Russia has concerns for SpaceX safety for docking to ISS

April 26, 2011

While a test of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft docking capabilities with the International Space Station is tentatively scheduled for December, 2011, Russia has said it will not allow a SpaceX vehicle to dock with the ISS ...

SpaceX pushes for mission to space station on next flight

July 27, 2011

NASA and SpaceX have “technically” agreed to allow the Dragon capsule to dock with the International Space Station this fall, according to SpaceX’s Twitter feed. The Dragon capsule is currently – and tentatively ...

Recommended for you

Dense star clusters shown to be binary black hole factories

July 29, 2015

The coalescence of two black holes—a very violent and exotic event—is one of the most sought-after observations of modern astronomy. But, as these mergers emit no light of any kind, finding such elusive events has been ...

Image: Hubble sees a dying star's final moments

July 31, 2015

A dying star's final moments are captured in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The death throes of this star may only last mere moments on a cosmological timescale, but this star's demise is still quite ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

fmfbrestel
5 / 5 (3) Feb 02, 2012
"Technical issues" = low level EMI concerns. Could have launched, but in this business you only have to look to Russia to see it is better to be safe than sorry.

If anyone is seriously interested in any space program or company, i suggest http://forum.nasa...ndex.php very technical answers to just about any spaceflight topic you can think of.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.