The privately owned space transport company, SpaceX, has been forced to postpone their flight to the International Space Station once again, this time from May 7 to May 19. This flight has been delayed many times within the last year or so, and this is the second time it has been delayed just within the last month. SpaceX has claimed that they want to make sure they do their due diligence before the launch happens.
The Mission Yet to Come
Once SpaceX actually manages to get the flight, which is called “Commercial Orbiter Transportation Services Demo Flight 2” or “COTS Demo Flight 2”, off the ground, the mission will be the most challenging flight ever undertaken by a commercial space company.
While the ship, which is known as the “Dragon”, will be unmanned, it will have to both orbit and dock with the International Space Station, one of the most challenging maneuvers in space travel.
Even though it is a test flight, NASA cannot afford to pass up a chance to take supplies up to the station, so they have loaded up over a thousand pounds of supplies onto the Dragon for its trip.
Plans for the Future
The Dragon isn’t simply a supply ship, however. SpaceX is currently working on a variant that they are calling the “DragonRider” which will be able to carry up to seven astronauts to the International Space Station, finally offering an alternative to the Russian Soyuz craft that is currently being used for all crew ferrying since the shuttle was retired in 2011.
Thinking further into the future, SpaceX has also proposed using the Dragon ship for an advanced unmanned Mars mission that they are calling “Red Dragon”, and would be capable of storing large amounts of instruments and be able to drill into the martian surface.
There has even been some talk of using the Dragon Capsule for manned martian missions.
Because its contracts and rapid progression towards operational spaceflight, SpaceX remains the space transport company that is the most poised to take control of the space market and continue for the foreseeable future to supply NASA and America with viable spaceships and memorable flights that NASA can not provide until they get their program back on its feet.