NASA And SpaceX Have Officially Announced The Date Of Their Next Space Mission
NASA and SpaceX have this week announced that its latest mission to the International Space Station (ISS) will be pushed from this weekend to mid-November. The Falcon 9 rocket was delayed due to further inspections needed after issues with an earlier launch.
The inspections were required after SpaceX found an issue with the rocket’s engine that involved the auto abort system activating after detecting two engines that attempted to start too early.
“We call it a hard start,” Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of build and flight reliability at SpaceX, explained in a press conference. “It's not necessarily bad. It rattles the engine and could cause a little damage. But in general, you do not want that.” In fact, the investigation proved the issue to be a laughably small amount of red lacquer, which covered up the small relief holes and thus triggered the auto abort.
“No question rocketry is tough and requires a lot of attention to detail,” Koenigsmann added. “Rockets are humbling me every day I work with them. You have to be super diligent and on your toes to get this right.”
Despite its initial delay, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission is still set to launch the agency’s astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) mission specialist Soichi Noguchi directly from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy next month.
The astronauts will join the Expedition 64 crew Commander Sergey Ryzhikov, and Flight Engineers Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins at the ISS after partaking in an extended quarantine on earth in response to COVID-19.
The launch is set to take place at 7:49 a.m. HKT on Sunday, November 15. For more information or to find out how to tune into the event online, be sure to check out the official NASA website.
See also: Tatler's Guide to Going to Outer Space