SpaceX’s next astronaut launch delayed due to a known problem

SpaceX Falcon 9 USSF GPS III satellite

In a blog post, the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) has announced that it will delay the launch of its upcoming commercial crew program (CCP) on the International Space Station (ISS). Agency officials had earlier planned to operate the launch later this month via SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Capsule spacecraft.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon is now slated for launch in the first half of November

Today’s delay marks the second delay for the Crew 1 mission, which is the first step in NASA and SpaceX’s efforts to build a sustainable commercial low-earth orbit (LEO) economy as the aircraft prepares to resume human flight for the ISS in the United States.

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During the briefing conducted for the launch mission, NASA and SpaceX representatives expressed their confidence in Crew Dragon. The capsule is an upgrade of Cargo Dragon developed by SpaceX for NASA’s Commercial Response Services Program (CRS). SpaceX has helped reduce the cost of flights compared to international alternatives through cargo flights to the ISS.

NASA said today that the delay was attributed to the Falcon 9’s propulsion system. The partial-reusable launch vehicle is the backbone of SpaceX’s entire launch portfolio. It has reused its engines, such as NASA’s space shuttle, and with the SpaceX Falcon 9, Starlink operates other cargo launches, including the company’s satellite for the Internet constellation.

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The problem has been revealed in the gas generators of the Marlin 1D rocket engines of the launch vehicles. This did not happen on the NASA mission and will use the extra time to test and review the system, according to the SpaceX agency.

Despite still being a startup, SpaceX has created an aggressive schedule of launch cads as it competes with larger companies. The set’s manifesto includes launches in both the private and non-private sectors. Both it and the United Launch Alliance have experienced a series of launch delays over the past few weeks.

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft during an assembly on October 2, 2020 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Image: NASA Commercial Crew Program Blog

The engine components of the Falcon 9 are delayed for critical testing for ignition

During its review, SpaceX will study the Falcon 9’s gas generator; Merlin is an important part of 1D engines. The generator ensures that the engine’s combustion chamber receives the pressed fuel from the tanks and that its start marks the first stage of combustion of a launch vehicle. Just moments after the launch of SpaceX, the company discovered a similar problem with the Falcon 9, the fourth GPS-III satellite carrier of the Space Force.

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SpaceX also had to get off the GPS launch earlier this month due to increased pressure on the Falcon 9’s gas generator. This was revealed by Elon Musk on his Twitter page, while acknowledging the hard work that the executive has done due to the release of SpaceX.

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New launch target for Crew-1 mission “Sooner than mid-November “ NASA said in today’s post. A brand new Falcon 9 booster is being used for the SpaceX mission, which NASA will also use to fly astronauts on its second CCP mission. The mission will re-use the Dragon Capsule that brought astronauts Bohnken and Harley to ISS in May this year and launched man-made spaceflight from U.S. soil.

In Crew-1, SpainX and NASA will send four astronauts to the ISS, doubling the size of the crew compared to Benhaken and Harley’s Dragon Endeavor. Crew-1’s crew will complete a six-month science mission to the orbiting space station and fully test the patience of the Dragon capsule. The SpaceX spacecraft was designed to run for 210 days when docked with the ISS, its solar panels meeting NASA expectations during the Demo-2 launch.

The Crew Dragon will also show an improvement in its heat tolerance compared to what it took with two astronauts before 2020. A result was tested on a NASA arc jet.

Kathy Luders, associate administrator at NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, also commented on SpaceX’s launch cadence. He remained optimistic and commented that,

“With the high capabilities of the SpaceX high mission, it truly gives us incredible insights into this commercial approach and helps us make informed decisions about the status of our missions. Teams are working on this search engine, and we should be smarter in the coming weeks.”

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