SpaceX's much anticipated launch of an unmanned Dragon
spacecraft to dock with ISS has been postponed, with no new launch
date set for the test.
SpaceX had gotten permission from NASA to combine the COTS 2 and
3 demonstration flights into one. The launch date had originally
been set for February 7th, but that launch has been pushed back to
allow for what's being called "due diligence" and "safety checks"
for the spacecraft.
The C2 demo will bring the spacecraft to near proximity of ISS,
a fly-by of about two miles. If that is accomplished
satisfactorily, then the C3 demo ... an actual docking of the
Dragon to the ISS, can proceed. The spacecraft would be grappled
with the station's robotic arm and brought in to berth with the
station's Harmony module. The spacecraft will carry non-essential
supplies for the demonstration. If any portion of the C2
demonstration has a major issue, the C/3 demonstration will be
pushed to a later flight.
NASASpaceflight.com reports that there has been no specific
reason for the delay. SpaceX said in a news release that “We
are now working with NASA to establish a new target launch date,
but note that we will continue to test and review data. We will
launch when the vehicle is ready.”