NASA Delays SpaceX Crew Dragon Launch to November

NASA Announces Delay of SpaceX Crew-1 Launch to ISS, Citing Issues With Falcon 9 Rocket

Crew Dragon launch delayed

"The Crew-1 mission is a major step for NASA's Commercial Crew Program", the USA space program said in a blog announcement. This is to provide "additional time for SpaceX to complete hardware testing and data reviews as the company evaluates off-nominal behavior of Falcon 9 first stage engine gas generators observed during a recent non-NASA mission launch attempt", the agency said in a statement. SpaceX has yet to reschedule the Global Positioning System 3 launch. The firm developed the spacecraft that will carry a crew of four including Japanese astronaut Noguchi Soichi to the global space station.

The Crew Dragon flight is the first operational mission by the commercially developed ferry ship, heralding the end of NASA's sole reliance on Russian Soyuz spacecraft to carry US and partner agency astronauts to and from the space station. (SpaceX)Falcon 9 booster B1062 was tested in McGregor just a few months later. The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov is scheduled to launch at 1:45 a.m. That flight will be followed by downstream Crew Dragon and Boeing CST-100 Starliner flights next year.

NASA said the issue with the Crew-1 mission will not delay another Falcon 9 launch, of the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich Earth observation satellite, scheduled for November 10 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

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But plans for a late October lift-off have been scrubbed in favor of an early-to-mid November launch, NASA announced this week.

Falcon 9 B1058 and capsule C206 prepare for Crew Dragon's inaugural astronaut launch, May 2020.

That set the stage for the first operational Crew Dragon flight with Hopkins and his crewmates. (SpaceX)SpaceX's first upgraded Cargo Dragon spacecraft has shipped to Florida ahead of the first orbital meeting of two SpaceX spacecraft. After launch, Crew Dragon will perform a series of maneuvers culminating with rendezvous and docking with the space station.

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The delay won't affect another crewed mission to the ISS.

If current dates hold, NASA will have to decide which SpaceX Dragon mission to launch first. If successful, it's safe to say that SpaceX will firmly solidify its position as the only spaceflight company on Earth truly capable of doing it all - from affordable and reusable rocket launches, crewed spaceflight, and space station resupply missions to orbital tourism and more. The next launch of a Crew Dragon, carrying four astronauts to the International Space Station, is now targeted for early to mid November.

Check out Teslarati's newsletters for prompt updates, on-the-ground perspectives, and unique glimpses of SpaceX's rocket launch and recovery processes.

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