SpaceX is set to launch the first in a series of small satellite rideshare missions Saturday from Cape Canaveral, providing transportation for 143 U.S. and international spacecraft to low Earth orbit, a record number of satellites on a single flight. Liftoff is scheduled for 9:40 a.m. EST (1440 GMT).
NASA officials said Tuesday the weekend test-firing of the Space Launch System moon rocket’s core stage was cut short by an out-of-limits parameter in a hydraulic system for gimbaling, or vectoring, one of its engines. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told Spaceflight Now engineers are “feeling pretty good” about the data gathered during the shortened test-firing, and managers may decide to ship the SLS core stage to the Kennedy Space Center for launch preparations without re-attempting the planned eight-minute hot fire.
Boeing said Monday it has re-qualified software for the company’s Starliner crew capsule after programming errors cut short the spacecraft’s first orbital test flight in 2019, and technicians at the Kennedy Space Center have connected the crew and service modules for the next unpiloted Starliner test flight to the International Space Station in March.