NASA Delays Commercial Crew Mission To Study Falcon 9 Engine Problems

Crew-1 astronauts in Crew Dragon

Washington — NASA is delaying the launch of its first SpaceX commercial crew mission to the first half of November to give more time to review the issue during a recent Falcon 9 launch attempt.

NASA announced that the Crew-1 mission, which was scheduled to launch on Falcon 9 in the early morning of October 31 at the Kennedy Space Center, will be launched from early to mid-November.

This delay will give SpaceX more time to complete hardware testing and data reviews as SpaceX “evaluates the non-nominal behavior of the Falcon 9 Phase 1 engine gas generator observed in a recent non-NASA mission launch attempt.” said. NASA has not identified the specific launch attempt in question, but The October 2 launch of the Falcon 9 with GPS 3 satellites was removed two seconds before takeoff. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk later described it as “an unexpected pressure rise in the turbomachine gas generator.”

Kathy Lueders, Director of Human Exploration and Operations at NASA, said, “The high cycle of missions SpaceX carries out gives us incredible insights into this commercial system and helps us make informed decisions about the state of our mission.” Said. statement. The investigation into the problem is ongoing, she said, and “we will be much smarter in the next week.”

Both the Crew-1 and GPS 3 missions are using the new, previously unreleased Falcon 9 First Stage. After the GPS 3 scrub, SpaceX successfully launched another Falcon carrying 60 Starlink satellites with a third-flight booster on the 6th of October. SpaceX has not yet changed the GPS 3 release schedule.

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NASA has said that issues related to the Crew-1 mission will not delay the launch of another Falcon 9 from the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich Earth Observation Satellite, scheduled for November 10 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. That mission will also use the new Falcon 9 first phase. Another Falcon 9 may have previously flown the first phase and will launch a NASA dragon cargo dragon spacecraft in late November or early December.

The Crew-1 mission transports NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi to the International Space Station for six months. NASA previously delayed the release from October 23rd to October 31st. Gives more time to finalize the certification work of the Crew Dragon spacecraft.

“For this important launch, we are excited to support NASA and all the schedules they need,” SpaceX’s vice president of build and flight stability, Hans Koenigsmann, told NASA at a briefing on the Crew-1 mission on September 29th. The agency announced the postponement to October 31. “When it is ready to fly, it will fly.”

The delay does not affect other crew missions to the ISS. The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Rose Cosmos astronauts Sergey Ridgekov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov will be launched on October 14 at 1:45 a.m. Eastern Time in Kazakhstan’s Baikonur space airfield. Is expected.

NASA’s Chris Cassidy and Rosscosmos’s Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner’s current ISS crew will leave the station a week later and return to Earth aboard the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft.

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