HAWTHORNE, Calif., Jan. 19 (UPI) — The first launch of a private spacecraft to the International Space Station has been postponed for additional engineering tests, its U.S. manufacturer says.
California company Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, was working toward a Feb. 7 launch of its unmanned Dragon capsule but has announced a delay for more testing, SPACE.com reported Tuesday.
The delay would allow more time to prepare the vehicle, SpaceX said.
“In preparation for the upcoming launch, SpaceX continues to conduct extensive testing and analysis,” company spokesperson Kirstin Grantham said in a statement. “We believe that there are a few areas that will benefit from additional work and will optimize the safety and success of this mission.”
A new launch date has not been announced.
“We are now working with NASA to establish a new target launch date, but note that we will continue to test and review data,” Grantham said. “We will launch when the vehicle is ready.”
The launch of the Dragon capsule using SpaceX’s own Falcon 9 rocket is designed to test the vehicle’s ability to carry cargo to the ISS.
If successful, Dragon would be the first commercial spacecraft to rendezvous and dock with the orbiting laboratory.