Launch of SpaceX Dragon Delayed 1 Week for Testing

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Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) has postponed its first launch to the international space station one week, to May 7, to allow extra time for spacecraft software tests, the Hawthorne, Calif.-based company announced April 24.

NASA had tentatively approved an April 30 liftoff of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket carrying the reusable Dragon cargo capsule on a demonstration mission to the space station. But after a follow-up flight readiness review April 23, SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk tweeted that he was pushing back launch about a week “to do more testing on Dragon docking code.”

SpaceX announced the next day that NASA and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., had approved its request to set May 7 as the new target launch date for the mission, which aims to berth Dragon to the space station for the first time. If all goes well, SpaceX will be cleared to start making regular cargo deliveries to the station under a $1.6 billion NASA contract awarded in late 2008.