SpaceX Launch Delayed; Boeing Set for 2016 Test Launch
The April 30 date was set after the completion of NASA’s flight readiness review. This was to be the second SpaceX demonstration launch for the space agency’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. A Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon capsule will launch from Cape Canaveral, conduct a series of testing procedures, and then rendezvous and berth with the International Space Station (ISS).
After SpaceX announced the delay, NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations, William Gerstenmaier, issued a statement:
We appreciate that SpaceX is taking the necessary time to help ensure the success of this historic flight. We will continue to work with SpaceX in preparing for the May 7 launch to the International Space Station.
SpaceX isn’t the only private company angling to take deliveries to the ISS. Boeing hopes to have its manned CST-100 spaceship ready for launch in 2015 or 2016. Boeing successfully completed a helicopter-aided parachute drop of the test craft on April 3 in Nevada.
Congress reduced NASA’s commercial crew budget by half this year, which forced the agency to revise its forecast for the start of operational commercial crew missions from 2016 to 2017.
You can see a promotional video about the commercial crew program below: