The scheduled launch date for SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, meant to launch the company's Dragon spacecraft to become the first commercial craft to dock with the International Space Station (ISS), has been delayed to 10 May or later.

Reports indicate that the delay is to allow more time for software testing. The delay comes two days after a hold-down test that saw all nine engines fired for a duration of 2s, clearing one of the final hurdles for launch. That test was slightly delayed due to a minor software issue that was quickly corrected.

As the launch window from NASA's Kennedy Space Centre (KSC) is open once every three days, the earliest possible launch date is 10 May. While one NASA website indicates a projected 10 May launch date, other sources report while the 7 May launch date was cancelled, no new launch date has been formally requested.

 SpaceX Dragon capsule


Delays beyond 10 May might put the launch in conflict with another scheduled mission to carry crew to ISS from Baikonur, Kazakhstan aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket. That launch is scheduled for 14 May.

NASA declined to comment, other than to say that any delay would be SpaceX's at prerogative, and referred questions to the company. SpaceX was not immediately available for comment.

Source: Flight International