NASA delays first regular SpaceX commercial crewed flight

Elon Musk talks 'bogus' COVID-19 test ahead of SpaceX launch

The roughly eight-hour flight to the station will be SpaceX's first operational mission, as opposed to a test, after NASA officials this week signed off on Crew Dragon's design, ending a almost 10-year development phase for SpaceX under the agency's public-private crew program.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule were slated to launch the astronauts to the International Space Station on Saturday (Nov. 14) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. His health isn't likely to affect the launch, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said at a news conference.

Four astronauts - three Americans and one Japanese - are scheduled to rocket to the International Space Station on Saturday night.

The liftoff time slipped from Saturday night due to gusty onshore winds that would have made a return landing for the Falcon 9 rocket's reusable booster stage hard, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted. To do that, SpaceX will land the booster on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean and then return it back to land.

The rocket loaded with the spacecraft has already been set on a launch pad.

That Crew-2 mission, SpaceX's next astronaut flight for NASA, is now targeted for a March 30 launch, so ensuring its booster returns to Earth safely is key. NASA plans to use that stage for the next commercial crew mission, Crew-2, launching in the spring of 2021.

"As part of the Commercial Crew Program, NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi will fly aboard Dragon on its first six-month operational mission to the ISS".

Elon Musk talks 'bogus' COVID-19 test ahead of SpaceX launch
SpaceX to launch first official crewed mission to space station

The launch was previously slated for October 31 but was pushed back to November 14 when the Falcon rocket had two engines replaced because of contamination from a red lacquer used in processing.

One of the test pilots on SpaceX's first astronaut flight, Doug Hurley, said he's certain Musk will be involved with the launch - regardless of where he is.

This mission will mark the first time the US has used its own technology to send its astronauts into space after retiring the Space Shuttle program back in 2011. That will require changes in how mission controllers schedule the daily exercise regimen for each crew member.

"It's about 27 hours from launch to dock", Steve Stitch, NASA's Commercial Crew Program manager, told reporters Tuesday (Nov. 10) in a press briefing. "And that's just due to the way the orbital mechanics line up".

The six-month mission is the first crew rotation flight on a USA commercial spacecraft; Phil Keating reports.

He was inside Kennedy's Launch Control last May for SpaceX's first astronaut flight last May. That mission, called Demo-2, lasted two months and ferried two astronauts to and from the station.


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