New launch preparation schedule for Dragon…

Manned and cargo Dragon spacecraftFollowing discussions between NASA managers and the SpaceX company a new launch preparation schedule for the Dragon logistics vehicle has been decided. The first flight will not now take place from Cape Canaveral before 20 April at the earliest. However, this date will impact other ISS-related flights during the second half of that month with the launch of Progress M-15M set for that date and preparations for the next Soyuz crew due for launch on May 15. It appears that software verification and testing is the long pole on the tent and that in reality the first flight is likely to drift into early May, or later in the month if it threatens to crowd activities associated with the next crew launch on 15 May. The ISS is in good condition logistically and the partners can maintain flight operations on the station until well into 2013 with existing supplies, by which time both Dragon and Cygnus are expected to be resupplying the ISS.

The Editor (Spaceflight)

Be sociable; support the BIS!