NASA is categorically pushing forward the launch of the commercial crew mission to November to have more time to evaluate the Falcon 9 engine that proved to be problematic in the recent launch trial. NASA reported that the mission, slated for October 31st, will now be moving to November. The agency revealed this while the Kennedy Space Center prepares for the launch.
NASA explained that they would thoroughly evaluate the hardware tests and data analysis in addition to the engine problem they witnessed while the craft was making a launch attempt. The trial launch was supposed to be on October 2nd but failed with just two seconds to take off when engineers realized a pressure problem in one of the turbo generators. SpaceX’s chief executive, Elon Musk, explained that the pressure rise in the generator system was unexplainable, forcing them to abort the missions instead of losing the whole spacecraft to a misinformed decision.
NASA’s associate administrator, Kathy Lueders, explained that the review would help the engineers and astronauts aboard this spacecraft to prepare adequately for the mission and make the necessary adjustments. She revealed that the engineering department is handling the pressure problem effectively and will be giving a detailed report after making the necessary tweaks.
Crew-1 and GPS 3 missions will be utilizing the latest Falcon 9 core boosters for the first time since their development. GPS 3 mission was also postponed to wait for the resolution of the communication problem that their spacecraft reported. Nevertheless, SpaceX’s mission scheduled to deploy 60 Starlink satellites smoothly took off, sensing the payloads to their destinations. SpaceX explained that they could not release the GPS 3 mission’s launch date until the reviewers clear all the systems.
NASA verified that all the other missions which are not affected by the Falcon 9 review, like the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich Earth observation satellite, will proceed as arranged. This mission will go through via the Vandenberg Air Force Base to deliver a payload for NASA using the reviewed Falcon 9 first stage booster.
NASA is paying close attention to the Crew-1 mission, hosting NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and JAXA’s Soichi Noguchi to the ISS to spend about six months. The previous postponement was due to the authentication of the Crew Dragon spacecraft before it could proceed. NASA is not taking chances with this mission since the lives of astronauts are involved.
To conclude, other missions to the International Space Station will proceed as scheduled. These missions include the Soyuz MS-17 mission that will be deploying Kate Rubins, Sergey Ryzhikov, and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.