Originally expected to take off Saturday, the launch of SpaceX’s first operational Crew Dragon mission was delayed to Sunday because of expected high winds at the Kennedy Space Center and weather off-shore where the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage will attempt to land on a SpaceX droneship. The company plans to re-use the booster for the next Crew Dragon flight.
The four astronauts preparing to ride SpaceX’s Crew Dragon “Resilience” into orbit climbed aboard their spaceship Thursday at the Kennedy Space Center in a practice run for a launch to the International Space Station planned Saturday night, while mission managers monitored weather and sea conditions in recovery areas across the Atlantic Ocean.
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.