The maiden voyage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft is being put on hold. The project, which was originally set for launch on May 7 from Cape Canaveral, has reportedly been grounded because of issues with software, Wired said.
A similar incident occurred last month that forced the Hawthorne-based company to postpone an April 30 launch date to May 7. SpaceX founder Elon Musk said the delays are a result of the software used to control Dragon being too sensitive. “Essentially Dragon got scared and ran away, when it shouldn’t have,” Musk said.
In order to get approval for launch, SpaceX must first get clearance from NASA if the Dragon spacecraft is to dock with the International Space Station. Once the launch finally does get underway — possibly on May 10, or as late as the end of May — the Dragon and ISS will basically participate in a galactic ballet, “Commands will be given from the station to the Dragon to ensure those on board the ISS can instruct the unmanned spacecraft to retreat if necessary,” Wired said.
SpaceX previously performed a dress rehearsal which, although considered a success, reset upon the first attempt. The company will likely have to wait until a few days after the Soyuz rocket launches on May 15, hopefully giving SpaceX enough time to work out the software kinks.