With SpaceX rocket issue sorted, NASA ready to send four astronauts to ISS
SpaceX and NASA say they sorted one outand want to send four astronauts aboard a Crew Dragon spaceship to the International Space Station on November 14th.
On October 2nd, a planned launch of a US Space Force GPS satellite by Falcon 9 was automatically canceled a few seconds before launch. A subsequent investigation revealed that two of the rocket’s nine Merlin engines had attempted to start early, triggering the automatic termination.
In a conversation with reporters on Wednesday, Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX vice president for construction and flight reliability, stated that the demolition prevented a “hard start” that could have damaged the engines.
The engines were removed from the missile for testing and a plug was discovered in a tiny relief valve line. A red masking varnish, similar to nail polish, was apparently removed during cleaning and flushed into a tiny hole about 1.57 millimeters in diameter, where it then hardened and blocked the line.
Koenigsmann said SpaceX has noted “the same tendencies” in engines that will be used for the launch of Crew-1 and the planned launch of NASA’s Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite on November 10 for global sea level monitoring.
The suspect engines have been replaced, and NASA and SpaceX now expect to be ready for launch on November 14th.
The Crew 1 mission is the first crewed flight to the ISS since the Demo 1 flight of a Crew Dragon, which brought NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken there. This milestone flight marked the first flight with a crew from US soil since the end of the space shuttle program.
When Crew-1 delivers NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker to the ISS along with Soichi Noguchi from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the space station’s crew size will be expanded to seven so that further research can be conducted in orbit .
Crew-1 will depart from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Nov. 14 at 4:49 p.m. (7:49 p.m. ET).