SpaceX and NASA are formally “go” to proceed with launching 4 astronauts to the Worldwide House Station subsequent week, with the completion of a crucial flight readiness overview on Thursday (April 15).
The Crew-2 mission is scheduled to carry off subsequent Thursday (April 22), which additionally occurs to be Earth Day. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft will launch from historic Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy House Heart in Florida. It is going to be the second flight of this specific Crew Dragon; the identical capsule, named “Endeavour,” carried NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to and from the house station final 12 months for the Demo-2 take a look at flight.
Contained in the Crew Dragon shall be 4 Expedition 65 crewmembers, who will spend about six months in house: NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Company (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European House Company (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet.
“The flight readiness overview was very profitable; we solely had one exception,” Kathy Lueders, NASA’s head of human spaceflight, stated in a information convention Thursday. “It must be cleared up within the subsequent few days as a result of it is obtained to get resolved earlier than the static fireplace [test],” which is at the moment scheduled for Saturday (April 17), she added. (Static fires, wherein rocket engines are ignited whereas the automobile stays anchored to the bottom, are a typical pre-flight checkout.)
Bill Gerstenmaier, vp of construct and flight reliability at SpaceX (and former NASA human spaceflight chief), stated in the identical information convention that the groups “found there was a possible loading error, the place we may very well be loading just a little additional oxygen in our [Falcon 9] tanks.” SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets use liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene for propellant.
Gerstenmaier added that different Falcon 9 missions have been flying on this similar configuration, however SpaceX solely lately found the problem whereas testing the rocket on the bottom in Texas. The corporate detected barely greater ranges of liquid oxygen than anticipated, however they haven’t but found out the reason for this discrepancy.
“We reviewed that with the NASA staff at this time, however we did not have sufficient time to actually go over all the information and take a look at all the implications of what that might imply,” he stated. “We will take the additional step” to overview the problem and decide if it might pose a danger to the astronauts (or different future Falcon 9 launches).
If the liquid oxygen subject is resolved and all else goes in accordance with plan, Crew-2 will carry off at 6:11 a.m. EDT (1011 GMT) on April 22 and dock with the Worldwide House Station simply over 23 hours later, at 5:30 a.m. EDT (0930 GMT) on April 23. A ultimate launch readiness overview is scheduled for April 20.
A backup launch window is obtainable on April 23. After that, Crew-2 might launch on both April 26 or April 27, Steve Stich, NASA’s Business Crew Program supervisor, added within the information convention.
You may watch the Crew-2 mission live here on Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV.
E-mail Hanneke Weitering at [email protected] or comply with her on Twitter @hannekescience. Observe us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Fb.