SpaceX reschedules its unmanned Red Dragon mission to Mars

Its new target launch date is 2020.


SpaceX is still relentlessly gunning for Mars, but the company has admitted that the current plans for its first unmanned flight might be a tad too ambitious. SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell has revealed that its robotic Martian lander called Red Dragon won't be ready in 2018 like the company wanted. She made the revelation at a press conference announcing the first time the space corporation is launching a rocket from the historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA Kennedy Space Center.

SpaceX originally hoped to send a Red Dragon to our neighboring planet by 2022 until it bumped up its target date to 2018. Shotwell said that she and her team were focused on achieving that goal but ultimately felt that they "needed to put more resources and focus more heavily on our crew program and our Falcon Heavy program." They're now "looking more in the 2020 timeframe."

The company is developing the Red Dragon capsule for low-cost Mars lander missions flown atop a Falcon Heavy rocket. It'll test all the techniques and technologies we've developed thus far and will ferry equipment future spacefarers would need when they visit the red planet.