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[i]Multiple NASA sources said the current May 7 target had been ruled out, although there was confusion in some quarters as to whether there might be a slim chance of keeping on schedule if additional analyses could be completed in time.
That did not appear likely, but NASA had no official comment on the launch date discussions because the SpaceX flight is being billed as a commercial operation and "it's up to SpaceX to make any announcements," one official said. Kirstin Brost Grantham, a SpaceX spokeswoman, had no immediate comment.
Because of test requirements and the nature of the space station's orbit, SpaceX cannot attempt back-to-back launch attempts on successive days. For this demonstration flight, attempts can only be made every third day.
For a launch on May 7, SpaceX would have a backup opportunity on May 10. After that, the company would have to stand down until May 19 or even later to make way for launch of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying three fresh station crew members. The Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft is scheduled for launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11:01 p.m. EDT (GMT-4) on May 14 with docking expected two days later.
Multiple sources said May 7 was no longer a viable launch target for SpaceX but that the company was still holding out hope for May 10. A final decision was expected by the end of the week, if not sooner.
NASA space station managers would prefer to delay the flight until after the Soyuz docking because there would be no backup opportunity if the weather or a technical problem prevented takeoff May 10 and because SpaceX would not have a second chance to dock with the station if something went awry during the rendezvous.[/i]
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