United Launch Alliance called off the planned launch of an Atlas 5 rocket Wednesday at Cape Canaveral to resolve a problem with valves at the launch pad, while a SpaceX team a mile-and-a-half to the south readied a Falcon 9 rocket for liftoff Thursday evening with a GPS navigation satellite for the U.S. military.
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.
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 Space Force says it changed the nickname of a GPS navigation satellite launched in June from Columbus to instead honor Matthew Henson, a Black explorer on the first expedition to the North Pole more than a century ago, “to acknowledge a fuller history of courageous explorers and pioneers.” The military’s next GPS navigation satellite, set for launch Friday night, is nicknamed Sacagawea.