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The competition heats up: NASA has delayed, for the second time, when it will award its next round of cargo contracts to ISS, pushing the date back from June to September.
Though agency officials said they could not reveal why they had delayed the contract awards, they did say it was to gather more information. My guess is that the agency wants to see how SpaceX’s launch abort tests turn out this year before it makes a decision. If successful, they will then have the option of dropping SpaceX’s as a cargo carrier and pick someone else, possibly Dream Chaser, to provide up and down service to ISS. That way, they would increase the number of vehicles capable of bringing people and supplies up to ISS.
Delaying the award decision until September gives them time to evaluate the abort tests results, as well as give them a cushion in case those tests get delayed somewhat.