SpaceX has delayed the CRS 5 cargo flight to the International Space Station scheduled for Friday to no earlier than Jan. 6 with Jan. 7 as a backup date.
A SpaceX spokesman said a static fire of the engine did not go as long as planned. He cited the need to conduct a second static fire, the upcoming holidays, and lighting conditions at the International Space Station as reasons for the delay.
In addition to sending a Dragon cargo ship to the space station, the flight was to attempt to land the Falcon 9 first stage on a barge for eventual reuse.
According to SpaceflightNow.com, the flight had already been delayed from Oct. 3, Dec. 1, Dec. 9 and Dec. 16.
With this latest delay, SpaceX will finish 2014 with six launches, which is double its launch rate for 2013 but about half the number planned for this year.
UPDATE: Here’s the official NASA announcement on the delay:
NASA, SpaceX Update Launch of Fifth SpaceX Resupply Mission to Space Station
NASA and SpaceX announced today the launch of SpaceX’s fifth commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station now will occur no earlier than Tuesday, Jan. 6.
The new launch date will provide SpaceX engineers time to investigate further issues that arose from a static fire test of the Falcon 9 rocket on Dec. 16 and will avoid beta angle constraints for berthing the Dragon cargo ship to the station that exist through the end of the year.