SpaceX is forging ahead with preparations for its next NASA astronaut mission, currently slated for a late October launch.
The Crew Dragon capsule that will launch the Crew-1 flight to the International Space Station arrived in Florida on Tuesday (Aug. 18), NASA officials said in an update Friday (Aug. 21).
The spacecraft made the trip from SpaceX's headquarters in Hawthorne, California, and is now being processed at company facilities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Crew-1 will lift off from NASA's nearby Kennedy Space Center no earlier than Oct. 23 atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The first stage of that rocket has been in Florida since July. The upper stage is at SpaceX's facility in McGregor, Texas, where it performed a "static fire" test on Tuesday, NASA officials said. (Static fires are routine trials in which a rocket fires up while remaining tethered to the ground.)
Crew-1 is the first operational crewed mission that SpaceX will fly to the station for NASA under a $2.6 billion contract that Elon Musk's company signed with the agency in 2014. The flight will carry four astronauts: NASA's Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and Japanese spaceflyer Soichi Noguchi.
SpaceX already has one crewed mission under its belt — the recent Demo-2 test flight, which sent NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the orbiting lab for a two-month stay. Crew-1 will last about six months, the usual stint for astronauts on the station.
Like SpaceX, Boeing holds a commercial crew contract with NASA, which the aerospace giant will fulfill using a capsule called CST-100 Starliner. Starliner is not yet ready to fly astronauts; the spacecraft must first ace an uncrewed test flight to the station, a mission scheduled to take place later this year.
Starliner tried this test flight once before, in December 2019, but suffered a glitch in its onboard timing system and got stranded in an orbit too low to allow a meetup with the station.
SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule arrives in Florida for next NASA astronaut launch
The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule destined to complete the company’s first operational mission to the International Space Station (ISS) – designated Crew-1 – has been delivered to SpaceX processing facilities in Florida. As previously reported by Teslarati, the C207 capsule was in the final stages of wrapping up integration at the SpaceX factory in Hawthorne, CA in early August. Over the weekend, capsule C207 completed the trek from California to Florida and arrived at SpaceX facilities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Tuesday, August 18 according to a NASA Commerical Crew blog post.
Ahead of shipment from California, capsule C207 was outfitted with a trunk section featuring upgraded solar panels intended to extend Crew Dragon’s previous limitation of ~120 days in orbit. The upgraded solar panels should extend the limitation and mitigate the amount of solar cell degredation that occurs while in orbit allowing the Crew Dragon – and astronauts – to remain in orbit for as long as six months meeting NASA’s long-duration mission requirements.
The capsule was also equipped with all necessary hardware including the re-entry heat shield, Super Draco emergency ascent abort thruster system, and parachute landing mechanisms prior to shipping out to Florida. The capsule will undergo final check outs and testing – such as acoustic testing – while at SpaceX’s Florida processing facilities prior to being mated with its Falcon 9 booster in SpaceX’s Horizontal Integration Facility at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39-A.
The arrival of the astronaut capsule follows the delivery of a brand new Falcon 9 booster. The booster (B1061) made the trek from SpaceX testing grounds in McGregor, Texas back in July before arriving at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Before shipment the booster successfully passed a static fire acceptance test of its nine Merlin 1D engines on a test stand at the Mcgregor facility.
In the blog post, NASA also stated that the Falcon 9’s second stage outfitted with a single Merlin Vacuum engine also passed acceptance test firing at the McGregor facility on Tuesday August, 18. The MVac engine of the second stage was previously succesfuly static fired back in April as confirmed on the company’s Twitter account. The recently test fired completed second stage is expected to ship to Florida in the coming weeks. The arrival of the second stage will mark the delivery of all SpaceX Crew-1 flight hardware.
The Crew-1 Crew Dragon capsule will fly three NASA astronauts, commander Michael Hopkins, pilot Victor Glover, and mission specialist Shannon Walker, as well as mission specialist Soichi Noguchi of Japan’s space program JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to the ISS and safely return them home for a splashdown landing.
NASA and SpaceX are currently targeting no earlier than October 23rd for the launch of Crew-1. As previously reported by Teslarati, the late October launch date is a slip of a few weeks from the previously identified no earlier than late-September timeline. The extra time is likely a result of neccessary testing and time needed for NASA to complete the operational status certification of SpaceX’s human spaceflight system.
NASA targeting Halloween for next SpaceX Crew Dragon astronaut launch
NASA now plans to launch four astronauts to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on October 31, a Halloween flight that will mark the first operational use of the capsule following a successful piloted test flight earlier this summer.
The space agency initially targeted October 23 for the "Crew 1" mission, just nine days after the October 14 launch of two cosmonauts and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft and two days after NASA flier Chris Cassidy and two cosmonaut crewmates return to Earth on October 21 aboard another Soyuz.
By delaying the Crew Dragon flight to October 31, the station crew and flight controllers in the U.S., Russia, Europe, Canada and Japan will get a chance to catch their collective breath while allowing additional time to resolve any open issues.
NASA's SpaceX Crew 1 astronauts (L-R): Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi. Hopkins, Walker and Noguchi are space flight veterans while Glover, an accomplished military test pilot, is making his first.
"The new target date will deconflict the Crew-1 launch and arrival from upcoming Soyuz launch and landing operations," NASA said in a blog post. "This additional time is needed to ensure closure of all open work, both on the ground and aboard the station, ahead of the Crew-1 arrival."
The name option of Perseverance was submitted, along with 28,000 other essay submissions, to be voted on by the general population. Perseverance was chosen by seventh-grader Alexander Mather. He believed the name fit in-family with the other Mars rovers currently occupying the Red Planet and that it was one of the most important characteristics missing from the line up of other inspirational names such as Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, and InSight.
When Mather submitted the name, he believed it to represent a quality possessed by humans. Throughout the year 2020, the definition of the name evolved to represent the wilfulness of human nature to endure and overcome the tumultuous year of 2020. As Mather explained “we, not as a nation, but as humans will not give up. The human race will always persevere into the future.”
Dragonship “Resilience” is sure to inspire just as many as its many predecessors. “Resilience” will be the very first spacecraft to complete an operational crewed mission to the ISS for NASA’s Commerical Crew Program. It will carry NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker along with Japan Aerospace Exploration astronaut Sôichi Noguchi to the ISS. Barring any further delays, the Crew-1 “Resilience” Dragon capsule is slated to blast off atop of a SpaceX Falcon 9 at 2:40 am (0640 UTC) from LC-39A at Kennedy Space Center, FL on October 31, 2020.
SpaceX delays next launch with astronauts due to Falcon 9 engine issues
SpaceX and NASA have delayed the upcoming launch of astronauts from Kennedy Space Center due to hardware issues discovered with a Falcon 9 rocket during a recent launch attempt, both confirmed Saturday.
NASA astronauts Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins, and Shannon Walker, along with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, are now slated to fly to the International Space Station no earlier than early-to-mid November. Pad 39A will host the Crew Dragon capsule mission known as SpaceX Crew-1.
In a statement, NASA said the delay gives SpaceX more time "to complete hardware testing and data reviews as the company evaluates off-nominal behavior of Falcon 9 first stage engine gas generators observed during a recent non-NASA mission launch attempt."
Though NASA did not specify, the statement is referring to the Oct. 2 launch attempt of a Global Positioning System satellite from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, which was automatically scrubbed by computers at the last second due to a rise in gas generator pressure readings. The machinery is typically used in rockets like Falcon 9 to power dual-propellant pumps.
After the scrub, which was one of several that also plagued other missions, CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter and said he would visit the Cape to spearhead a review of the issues. Though he has come and gone, his stay was short and details on the visit were not made available.
"We’re doing a broad review of launch site, propulsion, structures, avionics, range, and regulatory constraints this weekend," he said after the Oct. 2 scrub, also confirming he would review hardware in person.
Other NASA missions flying on Falcon 9, such as an ocean-monitoring satellite launching from California and an uncrewed Dragon supply ship from the Cape, still appear to be on schedule for November. Non-NASA SpaceX missions, like the previously scrubbed GPS launch, are targeting mid-to-late October as the investigation continues.
"We have a strong working relationship with our SpaceX partner,” Kathy Lueders, associate administrator of NASA’s human explorations office, said in a statement. "With the high cadence of missions SpaceX performs, it really gives us incredible insight into this commercial system and helps us make informed decisions about the status of our missions."
"The teams are actively working this finding on the engines, and we should be a lot smarter within the coming week," Lueders said.
Crew-1 will mark Crew Dragon's first full, certified mission to the ISS after astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley launched on its historic demonstration flight in late May. The four astronauts are expected to stay on the ISS for a long-duration mission full of science experiments and spacewalks, though an exact timeline is not yet available.
Quelle: Florida Today
Launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission delayed until November
The mission will bring three NASA astronauts and a JAXA astronaut to the International Space Station
NASA has delayed the launch of the SpaceX Crew-1 mission until early- to mid-November, the agency announced Saturday. The mission eventually will bring three NASA astronauts and an astronaut from Japan’s JAXA space agency to the International Space Station.
Originally scheduled for October 31st, the planned six-month mission was delayed to allow time to resolve issues with the first-stage engine gas generators on the Falcon 9 rocket, NASA said in a statement. When it does launch, American astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, plus Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi will be aboard SpaceX’s first operational crewed mission to the ISS.
Crew-1 is among six planned missions SpaceX plans to send to the ISS under a contract with NASA, awarded in 2014 as part of the Commercial Crew Program that brought private sector companies into the US space program.
SpaceX’s first Crew Dragon flight, the DM-2, or Demo-2, was a test mission that brought NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the ISS in May for a two-month visit. The Crew Dragon docked with the ISS and returned safely to Earth on August 2nd, giving NASA the data it needed to certify regular trips to and from the ISS with astronauts aboard in the future.
Quelle: The Verge
Engine problem delays launch of Crew Dragon till early November
The launch of the private manned spacecraft Crew Dragon has been postponed until early November at the earliest due to an engine problem, NASA announced on Oct. 10.
The spacecraft, operated by U.S. company Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) Corp., was initially scheduled to blast off from Earth bound for the International Space Station on Oct. 31. It will carry Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, 55, and three other crew members.
NASA said the spacecraft’s engines need to be examined due to a problem found in the same model of engines used in another spacecraft in its launch attempt.
“I take the (launch delay) as a necessary precaution to ensure the safety of the rocket,” Noguchi said in a message posted on his Twitter account. “We, the crew members, will continue to work hard in our training.”
NASA, SpaceX Invite Media to Crew-1 Mission Update, Target New Launch Date
NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, and Mike Hopkins, and astronaut Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency - who constitute the crew of NASA's Crew-1 mission - inside SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft.
NASA and SpaceX now are targeting 7:49 p.m. EST Saturday, Nov. 14, for the launch of the first crew rotation mission to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.
Managers of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission will hold a media teleconference at 4 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Oct. 28, to discuss the upcoming launch, including results from recent testing of the Falcon 9 Merlin engines following unexpected data SpaceX noted during a recent non-NASA launch. Audio of the teleconference will stream live on the agency’s website.
Briefing participants include:
Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington
Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston
Hans Koenigsmann, vice president, Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX, Hawthorne, California
Media may ask questions via phone only. For the dial-in number and passcode, please contact the newsroom at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida no later than 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crew-1 astronauts will join the Expedition 64 crew of Commander Sergey Ryzhikov, and Flight Engineers Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins. The arrival of Crew-1 will increase the regular crew size of the space station’s expedition missions from six to seven astronauts, adding to the amount of crew time available for research.
The Crew-1 mission will launch a few days after the Nov. 10 scheduled launch of NASA’s Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich mission on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, following a thorough review of launch vehicle performance.