SpaceX Crew Dragon launch delayed 24 hours due to bad weather
NASA and high-tech entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket company announced Friday a 24-hour weather delay of their planned launch of four astronauts into orbit for NASA’s first full-blown human mission using a spacecraft from private property.
Takeoff time slid from Saturday to Sunday night due to forecasts of gusty ground winds over Florida, remnants of Tropical Storm Eta, which would have made a return landing for the Falcon 9 reusable rocket booster stage is difficult, POT officials said.
SpaceX’s The newly designed Crew Dragon capsule, nicknamed “Resilience” by its crew, was rescheduled for launch on Falcon 9 at 7:27 pm ET on Sunday (0027 GMT Monday) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. at Cape Canaveral.
The crew for the flight to the International Space Station includes three American astronauts: Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and the mission commander, Mike Hopkins, a colonel in the US Air Force who will be sworn into the fledgling Force. US spacecraft once aboard the orbiting laboratory.
The fourth member of the crew is Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, who makes his third trip to orbit after flying on the American space shuttle in 2005 and on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in 2009.
The trip to the space station, lasting from about eight hours to a little over a day by the new launch time, is considered SpaceX’s first “operational” mission for the Crew Dragon.
The so-called test flight of the vehicle to and from the space station with two crew members aboard the Dragon in August marked the first NASA astronaut spaceflight launched from US soil in nine years, following the end of the shuttle program.
NASA officials just signed off on the final Crew Dragon design earlier this week, culminating a nearly 10-year development phase for SpaceX under the space agency’s public-private crew program.
The advent of the Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon represents a new era of commercially developed space vehicles, which are owned and operated by a private entity rather than by NASA, which are used to bring Americans into orbit.
“The story that is being made this time is that we are launching what we call an operational flight to the International Space Station,” NASA chief Jim Bridenstine told a news conference at the Kennedy Space Center on Friday.
Musk, the Silicon Valley billionaire titan who is also CEO of the electric car battery and marker maker Tesla, usually attends high-profile SpaceX missions in person. But its presence for the launch was questioned on Thursday after it said a series of four coronavirus diagnostic tests had been performed, two of which came back positive and two negative.
When asked if Musk would be in the launch control room for takeoff, Bridenstine said agency policy required employees to self-quarantine and isolate themselves after testing positive for the disease, “so we anticipate that will happen. ”
It was unclear if Musk came into contact with the astronauts, but it is unlikely as the crew have been in routine quarantine for weeks before the flight.
NASA contracted with SpaceX and Boeing in 2014 to develop competing space capsules intended to replace the shuttle program that ended in 2011 and remove the United States from reliance on Russian rockets to send American astronauts into space.
Boeing’s first manned test mission with its Starliner capsule is scheduled for late next year.