Cape Canaveral, Fla. -
As NASA transitions to supporting a private rocket launch industry, Space X is preparing for its first demonstration launch. Space Exploration Technologies Corp. was awarded a contract by NASA for $1.6 billion to build and launch rockets that can dock with the International Space Station, ISS, and do other payload duties.
During this demonstration launch, the rockets payload vehicle is set to dock with the ISS 4 days after liftoff. The liftoff has already been delayed, with the last launch scheduled for May 9 already scrubbed as Space X engineer decided to review component systems and computer software again.
"Thus far, no issues have been uncovered during this process, but with a mission of this complexity we want to be extremely diligent," SpaceX spokeswoman Kirstin Brost Grantham said in statement.
If Space X successfully docks with the ISS, it will be the first time a private company will have done so. This past Monday the company successfully test fires its engines at its launch pad at Cape Canaveral.
If Space X can successfully dock with the ISS, it will be able to move ahead with its contract with NASA to provide at least 12 flights in the coming two years.
Space X makes its Dragon capsule and 18-story Falcon 9 rocket in Hawthorne California and is then transported by truck to Florida.