NASA's SpaceX Crew-1 mission set to launch in November

NASA's SpaceX Crew-1 mission set to launch in 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 October 10.

Additional upcoming NASA missions rely on the Falcon 9 for launch.

As a result, Crew-1 has slipped from placeholder launch dates on October 23rd and October 31st to sometime in "early-to-mid November", while most external sources suggest that a mid-to-late November target is more likely.

But on October 1, NASA released a statement on the Crew-1 mission, noting a new target of "no sooner than early-to-mid November". It's unclear exactly what went wrong with the rocket's first-stage engine gas generators.

"Teams are actively implementing this invention in engines", said Kathy Louder, co-executive director of NASA's Directorate of Human Research and Operations Mission.

A government watchdog agency wants NASA to come up with a contingency plan for getting American astronauts to the International Space Station.

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The problem was discovered during a non-NASA mission launch attempt and it is now being investigated.

The launch of the first operational SpaceX Crew Dragon mission had initially been scheduled for the end of the month.

"NASA and SpaceX will use the data from the company's hardware testing and reviews to ensure these critical missions are carried out with the highest level of safety", the agency said in the statement. Some complexities in the Falcon-9 rocket were related to the First-stage engine gas generators. That flight will carry three NASA astronauts - Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker - and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi to the ISS for a six-month stay. Her arrival in SpaceX's new vehicle will bring the total population of the ISS to seven - a larger cohort than usual for the ISS, which has typically consisted of six since the end of the space shuttle program. She added, "This really gives us incredible insight into the commercial system and helps us make informed decisions about the status of our missions".

Once docked with the International Space Station, the team will join Expedition 64 members Kate Rubins, Sergey Ryzhikov, and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov for spacewalks and unpiloted flight tests.

Moving forward, NASA hopes that it can work out seat trades with Roscosmos, where Russian cosmonauts will ride on SpaceX and Boeing's vehicles in exchange for NASA astronauts flying on the Soyuz. As of now, Crew Dragon and Cargo Dragon 2 both have to launch from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A, as the pad is outfitted with a unique tower and Crew Access Arm (CAA) that both allows astronauts to board and cargo to be loaded.

With Crew-1 mission now planned after this fall, the astronauts' reliance on ISS will be even greater with the Crew-2 mission planned for the spring of 2021.

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