SpaceX flight to ISS could be late March: NASA

Feb 02, 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: Water fleas prepared for trip to space

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US space capsule launch set for Wednesday

Dec 07, 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.

Recommended for you

Water fleas prepared for trip to space

9 minutes ago

Local 'Daphnia' waterfleas are currently being prepared by scientists at the University of Birmingham for their trip to the International Space Station (ISS), where they will be observed by astronauts.

The worst trip around the world

25 minutes ago

As you celebrate the end of the year in the warmth of your home, spare a thought for the organisms riding with a third-class ticket on the International Space Station – bolted to the outside with no protection ...

Four Galileo satellites at ESA test centre

1 hour ago

ESA engineers unwrapped a welcome Christmas present: the latest Galileo satellite. The navigation satellite will undergo a full checkout in Europe's largest satellite test facility to prove its readiness ...

Funding challenges for Orion and SLS

1 hour ago

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of Congress, which exists to support Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve ...

User comments : 1

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.