Crew Dragon

NASA & SpaceX delay launch of next Astronaut crew due to an 'unexpected observation'

NASA & SpaceX delay launch of next Astronaut crew due to an 'unexpected observation'

Featured Image Source: NASA

SpaceX is preparing to launch its second crewed flight to the International Space Station (ISS) under NASA's Commercial Crew Program. The mission, known as Crew-1, will launch three NASA astronauts and one Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut. With NASA are: Crew Dragon commander Michael Hopkins, joint-commander Pilot Victor Glover, and mission specialist Shannon Walker, along with JAXA Soichi Noguchi who will also be a mission specialist. They will ride aboard SpaceX's upgraded Crew Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket, that will liftoff from Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Crew-1 will officially be the first operational mission launched from American soil that features an International crew. They are expected to stay at the orbiting laboratory for six months.

Source: NASA

The Crew-1 mission was previously scheduled for October 31st.  Today, NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate Kathy Lueders announced the agency now targets a date no earlier than (NET) November. "We’re now targeting NET early-to-mid November for launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission to the Space Station. The extra time will allow SpaceX to resolve an unexpected observation during a recent non-NASA launch attempt," Lueders stated via Twitter.


The 'unexpected observation' refers to a rocket issue that occured during a United States National Security mission, in which SpaceX was contracted to deploy an upgraded third generation Global Positioning Satellite (GPS-III Space Vehicle 04) for the U.S Space Force atop a Falcon 9 rocket. On October 2nd, SpaceX attempted to deploy the GPS-III satellite but at around two seconds before the 9:43 p.m. EDT liftoff timeframe, launch controllers scrubbed the launch at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 40. The founder of SpaceX Chief Engineer Elon Musk said the mission was aborted due to an "unexpected pressure rise in the turbomachinery gas generator" of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle's first-stage.


SpaceX will now perform hardware testing of the engine gas generators, and carefully assess data before launching another astronaut crew to ISS. "Through the agency’s Commercial Crew and Launch Services Programs partnership with SpaceX, NASA has full insight into the company’s launch and testing data," the agency stated.

"We have a strong working relationship with our SpaceX partner," Lueders stated in a press release, "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," she said on October 10.

About the Author

Evelyn Arevalo

Evelyn Arevalo

Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.

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