WASHINGTON — Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s third contracted cargo run to the international space station has slipped to March 30 from March 16, the company said in a March 13 press release.

The backup launch date is April 2, according to the press release. 

“Both Falcon 9 and Dragon are in good health,” SpaceX spokeswoman spokeswoman Emily Shanklin said in the release. “Given the critical payloads on board and significant upgrades to Dragon, the additional time will ensure SpaceX does everything possible on the ground to prepare for a successful launch.”

The press release said SpaceX needed to resolve “open items” before launching, but did not provide specifics.

SpaceX owes NASA 12 cargo resupply flights to the international space station under a $1.6 billion Commercial Resupply Services Contract signed in 2008.

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Dan Leone is the NASA reporter for SpaceNews, where he also covers other civilian-run U.S. government space programs and a growing number of entrepreneurial space companies. He joined SpaceNews in 2011.Dan earned a bachelor's degree in public communications...