Crew-1: NASA delays manned SpaceX mission to space station till November

Rodiano Bonacci
Ottobre 15, 2020

The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) delayed the launch of the SpaceX Crew-1 space mission until mid-November 2020 because it intends to give SpaceX more time to complete tests on operating systems, thoroughly review the hardware and evaluate data on the operation of the gas generators inside the engine of the first phase of the Falcon 9 aircraft.

"My physical and cognitive abilities will be challenged but I want to compete with the younger generation by duping them with my experience", joked the 55-year-old from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency about his upcoming ISS mission on the Crew Dragon spacecraft developed by USA aerospace manufacturer SpaceX. The company has launched one uncrewed test mission of that capsule, called Starliner, but it hit technical difficulties and was unable to dock with the space station as planned.

Of the crew members, Glover is the only one who hasn't been in space before, but he has logged more than 3,000 hours of flying experience. It was scheduled for 31st October but due to issues in space rockets, the launch was delayed until November.

As a result, Crew-1 slipped to some point from the October 23 and October 31 placeholder release dates to "early to mid-November", but most external sources suggest that mid-to-late November targets are higher.

During a previous launch, an engine problem forced computers to abort the mission in the final seconds of the countdown. After the Global Positioning System 3 scrub, SpaceX successfully launched another Falcon 9 October 6 carrying 60 Starlink satellites using a booster making its third flight. Company officers had earlier deliberate to conduct the launch on the finish of this month, by SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule spacecraft. Since the space shuttle's last flight in 2011, NASA astronauts have only been able to get to the station with the Russian Soyuz rocket. She said an investigation into the problem is ongoing "and we should be a lot smarter within the coming week".

The four astronauts in Crew-1 are set to spend six months on the ISS, where they will conduct a number of experiments and perform a range of tasks.

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins is using NASA's last now contracted Soyuz seat next week, joining two Russian cosmonauts for a flight to the International Space Station aboard the Soyuz MS-17/63S spacecraft. The Crew-1 crew will complete a six-month science mission on the orbiting space station, fully testing the Dragon capsule's endurance. Either way, however, a significant delay is required for the CRS-21 and Crew-1 to not mark the first time the two SpaceX Dragon spacecraft meet in orbit on the ISS.

The crew will head to the ISS where they will integrate with Expedition 64 astornaut Kate Rubins as well as Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov. "We've made the area in between these tiles better", said Steve Stich, Program Manager for NASA's Commercial Crew Program, adding that it was ready to go for the next mission.

Through its Commercial Crew Program, NASA is also funding the development of a new spaceship from Boeing. Hence, it was the right decision of NASA and SpaceX to put a stop to the mission until the company is sure of success.

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