SpaceX is replacing two engines on the Falcon 9 booster set to launch four astronauts next month on the company’s first operational Crew Dragon flight to the International Space Station, following an investigation that revealed a subcontractor failed to adequately clean out narrow vent ports on multiple engines across the company’s fleet, officials said Wednesday.
After a two-week delay to evaluate a concern with Falcon 9 rocket engines, NASA and SpaceX have set Nov. 14 as the target launch date for the first operational Crew Dragon flight to the International Space Station, kicking off a half-year expedition in orbit for three U.S. astronauts and a veteran Japanese space flier.
A Soyuz rocket carrying Russian commander Sergey Ryzhikov, flight engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, and veteran NASA astronaut Kate Rubins blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1:45 a.m. EDT (0545 GMT) Wednesday. The Soyuz crew took off on a three-hour express trip to the International Space Station that culminated in a docking at 4:48 a.m. EDT (0848 GMT).
NASA said Saturday that the launch of four astronauts on SpaceX’s first operational Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station has been delayed from Oct. 31 until “no sooner than early-to-mid November,” allowing time for SpaceX to resolve an issue with Falcon 9 rocket engines that halted a recent launch attempt with a GPS navigation satellite.
The first operational flight of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft with four astronauts aboard is set to launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida no earlier than Oct. 23, following a formal certification review to assess data from the Crew Dragon’s two-man test flight that concluded earlier this month, NASA said Friday.