NASA declared that the first operational SpaceX commercial crew mission to the International Space Station will launch in late October, a deferral to assist other spacecraft traveling to the station.
The agency said it has marked the date of no sooner than October 23 for the Crew-1 launch, which will send three NASA astronauts and one astronaut from the Japanese space agency JAXA on a Crew Dragon spacecraft to the ISS for a six-month mission.
NASA recently said the mission will launch in late September, yet authorities had indicated that the launch could be deferred until October.
“Right now it’s scheduled for late September. It could slip into October,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said August 7 in a keynote speech at an online conference for alumni of the International Space University.
Not long before the launch of the Demo-2 mission on May 30, NASA said it was focusing on a launch date of no sooner than August 30 for Crew-1, expecting that Demo-2 to return by the start of August.
In any case, in the weeks prior to the Demo-2 splashdown on August 2, NASA said they required atleast a month and a half to finish certification work away on the spacecraft before launching Crew-1, pushing that launch back to the end of September.
The new postponement, NASA said in its declaration of the Crew-1 launch date, is fundamentally a direct result of other visiting vehicle traffic at the ISS.
The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft is booked to launch to the station on October 14, taking NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov to the station.
They will replace the current crew of NASA’s Chris Cassidy and Roscosmos’s Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, who are planned to return to Earth for the Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft a few days after the arrival of Soyuz MS-17.
In addition the Soyuz arrivals and departures, a Cygnus cargo spacecraft is as of now booked for launch on September 29 on an Antares rocket from Wallops Island, Virginia. Cygnus spacecraft will commonly show up at the station a few days after launch.
Crew-1 will ship NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and mission specialist Shannon Walker, and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi to the station.
“We’re all set to the space station,” Glover said at a press conference after the Demo-2 splashdown on August 2. “We’re extremely near prepared to fly the Dragon into low Earth orbit.”
The late October launch of Crew-1, NASA stated, will permit them to stay on the station through the launch this spring of Crew-2, which will ship another team of astronauts from NASA, JAXA and the European Space Agency to the station.
While the Crew-1 mission will utilize a new Falcon 9 booster and Crew Dragon spacecraft, Crew-2 will utilize the Dragon capsule from the Demo-2 mission and the Falcon 9 booster from Crew-1.
NASA despite everything needs to complete certification of the Crew Dragon spacecraft to permit the Crew-1 mission to continue.
At the post-splashdown public interview, Steve Stich, manager of NASA’s commercial crew program, said he expected the final certification review to occur in late August or early September.