stoolpigeon writes to tell us that Elon Musk recently announced a delay to the projected summer launch for SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule. "Falcon 9 is the centerpiece of SpaceX's project for NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) project. NASA is hoping to be able to draw on new and cheaper commercial rockets to service the International Space Station once the shuttle fleet retires in 2010. If the trial flight of Falcon 9 early next year is a success, payload-carrying COTS missions could follow in quick succession. But the delay is worrying some observers who note that SpaceX's other rocket project, the Falcon 1, has failed during its only two launch attempts. The first Falcon 1 caught fire and crashed, and the second failed to achieve orbit due to problems during stage separation. A third Falcon 1 launch is planned for April."
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