Tuesday, December 6, 2011

NASA, Russia to Further Delay SpaceX

NASASpaceFlight.com reports that the NASA and Roscosmos bureaucracies continue to delay the historic flight of the SpaceX Dragon capsule to the International Space Station.

SpaceX’s Dragon demonstration flight to the International Space Station (ISS) is understood to be moving into the February/March timeframe, while approval for the combination of the C2/C3 (D2/D3) missions – which would result in Dragon arriving at the orbital outpost – is still pending official approval from NASA and the ISS partners.

A final decision to combine the second and third of three planned Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) demonstration flights (C2 and C3 – otherwise known as D2 and D3) for SpaceX’s Dragon capsule still hasn’t been made, as much as it’s been due for several weeks.

An actual official decision – and announcement – on combining the two flights, resulting a mission which will see the first commercial spacecraft to arrive at the Space Station, will be made by Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) Mission Directorate Associate Administrator Bill Gersteinmaier.

Regarding Russia, the article states, "... sources note the Russians still have misgivings about Dragon arriving at the ISS, claiming Roscosmos spoke with Mr. Gersteinmaier recently, requesting Dragon mirrors the same approach points as the European ATV and Japanese HTV carried out in their first flights to ISS."

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