“The primary driver for the schedule continues to be the need to conduct extensive software testing,” SpaceX said. “This is a challenging mission and we intend to take every necessary precaution in order to improve the likelihood of success.”
Meanwhile, SpaceX founder Elon Musk says that the rocket company could make its initial public offering (IPO) of stock in 2013:
“There’s a good chance that SpaceX goes public next year,” Musk, 40, said yesterday in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California, without elaborating.
Tesla Motors Inc., Musk’s electric-car company, sold shares for the first time in 2010. SolarCity Corp., a developer of rooftop solar-power systems of which Musk is chairman, is also preparing to file for an IPO this year, three people with knowledge of the matter have said.
SpaceX has contracts to launch satellites and is scheduled to begin shipping cargo to the International Space Station in April. Musk started the company in 2002 with money from that year’s IPO of PayPal Inc., which he co-founded, and the subsequent sale of his stake in the Internet-payment company when it was acquired by EBay Inc.
“SpaceX, in terms of launches awarded, is the world leader in space launch,” Musk said. “We’re beating the Russians, the Chinese, the Europeans, everyone.”
That’s true in terms of launch contracts and deposits. In terms of actually launching things, SpaceX lags behind everyone, including Ukraine. There were six successful launches of Ukrainian rockets last year; SpaceX launched nothing in 2011, and it has four successful flights in its entire history.
SpaceX is looking to pick up the pace this year, so by the time it goes IP it will have a number of successful launches under its belt.