I just got an email from Stephanie Bednarek:
The demonstration launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft has been rescheduled for no earlier than Wednesday, December 8. The delay is due to a crack in the engine nozzle on the rocket’s second Stage that was discovered during a routine review of close-out photos of the rocket on Monday. More information on the launch schedule will be announced when available.
This will be the first-ever test flight of a Dragon spacecraft, an entirely new spacecraft designed in the last decade, and only the second test flight of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle. It also marks the first time a commercial company is attempting to re-enter a spacecraft from orbit. As noted in a recent Wall Street Journal Article:
“Placing the vehicle into a such an orbit at speeds exceeding 17,000 miles per hour, then maneuvering through a fiery reentry and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean will require a flawless trajectory, a reliable heat shield and finally, perfect operation of the redundant parachutes.”
This will also be the first flight under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program to develop commercial supply services to the International Space Station. After the Space Shuttle retires, SpaceX will fly at least 12 missions to carry cargo to and from the International Space Station as part of the Commercial Resupply Services contract for NASA. The Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft were designed to one day carry astronauts; both the COTS and CRS missions will yield valuable flight experience toward this goal. An informational fact sheet on the COTS program is attached for your reference.
This has been a strong government-commercial partnership. SpaceX has only come this far by building upon the incredible achievements of NASA, having NASA as an anchor tenant for launch, and receiving expert advice and mentorship throughout the development process. With the savings NASA will see by using SpaceX for low-Earth transportation, billions of dollars are freed up for other activities such as accelerating exploration efforts that go beyond low-Earth orbit, advanced telescopes and Earth science missions.
SpaceX plans to broadcast the entire launch live at www.spacex.com. NASA TV will also provide coverage.
So, it could still happen tomorrow. Best of luck.