Space station back to full power, SpaceX launch early Friday
05 May, 2019, 04:53 | Author: Emilio Conner
The Falcon 9 launch vehicle has put the Dragon spacecraft carrying the cargo for the International Space Station (ISS) crew into orbit, the US SpaceX aerospace company reported in a Twitter post on Saturday. One of the payloads is an experiment called the Photobioreactor, which will test the cultivation of microalgae to someday serve as both food and a source of oxygen on the space station.
The landing platform was stationed almost 23 kilometres offshore.
The flight was again postponed to May 1st, and this time NASA has a serious issue to deal with before thinking of any SpaceX Dragon docking to the ISS.
SpaceX finally confirmed Thursday its crew capsule was destroyed in ground testing two weeks ago and conceded that the accident is "not great news" for the company's effort to launch astronauts this year. But a problem cropped up at the last minute with the ocean platform for recovering the first-stage booster following liftoff.
This cargo Dragon, flying a mission designed CRS-17, previously flew to the station on the CRS-12 mission in August 2017.
"We have no reason to believe there is an issue with the SuperDracos themselves", Koenigsmann said, adding that the engines have been tested almost 600 times in the past.
The first manned mission to the space station on Crew Dragon has also been planned for later this year.
After the scrub, SpaceX also said there was a ground-based helium leak it wanted to check out before the rocket's next launch attempt.
The go-ahead to proceed with the launch of SpaceX's 17th station resupply mission came after NASA teams successfully restored two of eight power channels aboard the laboratory complex orbiting 250 miles above Earth.
Before the accident, SpaceX had been shooting for a summertime crew launch.
An attempt to test-fire the 8 SuperDraco engines triggered the accident, demolishing the entire vehicle on a test stand, Koenigsmann told reporters at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
"We have tons of data, but we don't have now something we can say, oh, it was most likely this or that", he said. Because the arm is used to capture and berth the cargo Dragon spacecraft, NASA opted to delay the launch until flight controllers could use the arm to install a spare unit. SpaceX won the $2.6-billion contract from NASA to design & build Crew Dragon.
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