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Sunday, November 25, 2012

DELAY: Falcon-9 Dragon Launch March 1st

One of the Falcon 9's Merlin engines failed on the OTS-C1 mission.
NASA managers say the next launch of a Orbital Transportation Services (OTS-C2) Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station will be postponed from January until March 1, 2013 so a determination may be made as to why one of the OTS-C1 rocket’s nine engines failed about a minute after lift-off on October 7, 2012 on the first operational commercial mission.
Falcon 9 on launch pad
Company and NASA engineers are still sorting out what caused one of nine Merlin engines to shut down early during the Oct. 7 launch of a Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station, NASA officials told an advisory committee, reports Florida Today

SpaceX hopes to have the booster and capsule human-rated by mid-decade to provide commercial launch services to American astronauts - negating the need for the Russian Soyuz taxi service.

Meanwhile, Orbital Sciences Corporation hopes to forge forward with the launch of the Antares-Cygnus on its first operational mission to the International Space Station in April 2013 providing the second commercial space launch firm to boost cargo and supplies to space.

By 2015, the European Space Agency will discontinue the Automated Transfer Vehicle or ATV cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station ceding the runs to the two American commercial space launch firms. The ATV technology will be transferred to the development of a service module for NASA's new Orion human-rated spacecraft. Orion is expected to make its first unmanned orbital test-flight atop a Delta-IV in 2014.

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