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SpaceX plans to keep its Falcon 9 rocket grounded longer than planned following a launch accident involving the unmanned booster in June, the company president said on Monday.
The privately held company is owned and operated by technology entrepreneur Elon Musk, who earlier this summer was targeting the Falcon 9's next flight for September.
"We’re taking more time than we originally envisioned, but I don’t think any one of our customers wants us to race to the cliff and fail again,” Gwynne Shotwell, president of SpaceX, said at a webcast panel discussion at the AIAA Space 2015 conference in Pasadena, California.
She said the company was "a couple of months away from the next flight."
The June 28 accident, which destroyed a cargo ship bound for the International Space Station for NASA, is believed to have been triggered by a flawed support strut in the rocket's upper-stage engine.
The metal strut broke about two minutes after the rocket lifted off from Florida, releasing a bottle of helium that over-pressurized the second-stage engine. Seconds later, the rocket exploded over the Atlantic Ocean.
The accident, along with the failed Oct. 28 launch of an Orbital ATK Antares rocket on another station cargo run, has left the U.S. space agency dependent on Russian and Japanese freighters to resupply the station.