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SpaceX team launch set for Nov. 14

SpaceX team launch set for Nov. 14
NASA astronaut Victor Glover, commander Mike Hopkins, Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, and mission specialist Shannon Walker (left to right) will launch on SpaceX’s first operational Crew Dragon flight to the International Space Station. Credit: SpaceX After a two-week delay to evaluate a concern with Falcon 9 rocket engines, NASA and SpaceX have set Nov. 14…
NASA astronaut Victor Glover, commander Mike Hopkins, Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, and objective specialist Shannon Walker (left to right) will launch on SpaceX’s very first functional Team Dragon flight to the International Space Station. Credit: SpaceX

After a two-week delay to evaluate an interest in Falcon 9 rocket engines, NASA and SpaceX have set Nov. 14 as the target launch date for the first functional Team Dragon flight to the International Space Station, beginning a half-year exploration in orbit for three U.S. astronauts and a veteran Japanese area flier.

NASA revealed the brand-new target launch date late Monday. The Team Dragon spaceship is set for liftoff from pad 39 A at the Kennedy Area Center in Florida at 7: 49 p.m. EST on Nov. 14 (0049 GMT on Nov. 15) atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

If the mission launch as scheduled, the Team Dragon and its four-person crew will move to an automatic linkup with the International Space Station’s Harmony module around 4: 15 a.m. EST (0915 GMT) on Nov. 15, about eight-and-a-half after launch.

NASA commander Mike Hopkins, spacecraft pilot Victor Glover, and objective professionals Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi– of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Firm– will ride the Crew Dragon spaceship to the space station. Hopkins and his crewmates will join spaceport station leader Sergey Ryzhikov, Russian flight engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins on the international research study outpost, raising the lab’s long-duration team to 7 people for the first time.

The mission set for launch next month is designated Crew-1. It follows a 64- day Team Dragon test flight to the space station that introduced in May with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken.

The successful test flight set the stage for the start of routine SpaceX crew rotation flights to the spaceport station under agreement to NASA.

The Crew-1 launch was postponed from Oct. 31 to permit time for SpaceX and NASA engineers to examine a prospective issue with Merlin rocket engines on the Falcon 9 rocket.

The engine issue appeared throughout an Oct. 2 launch attempt of a Falcon 9 rocket with a GPS satellite at Cape Canaveral, triggering computer systems managing the final seconds of the countdown to abort the mission just 2 seconds prior to liftoff.

Elon Musk, SpaceX’s creator and CEO, tweeted after the abort that the countdown was stopped after an “unanticipated pressure increase in the turbomachinery gas generator,” referring to devices utilized on the rocket’s Merlin main engines. The gas generators on the Merlin 1D engines drives the engines’ turbopumps.

After the GPS launch abort SpaceX removed engines from the Falcon 9 rocket and took them to a test center in McGregor, Texas, for more examination. Recently, NASA said SpaceX will change one of the Merlin engines on the Falcon 9 rocket for the Crew-1 mission, in addition to an engine on a various Falcon 9 rocket set to enhance the NASA-European Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich oceanography satellite into orbit Nov. 10 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

” The Crew-1 objective will introduce a few days after the Nov. 10 arranged launch of NASA’s Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich mission on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Vandenberg Flying Force Base in California, following a thorough review of launch automobile performance,” NASA stated in a declaration Monday.

NASA and SpaceX officials prepare to brief press reporters on the Merlin engine investigation Wednesday.

SpaceX’s next Team Dragon spacecraft, called Resilience, was attached to its unpressurized trunk Oct. 2 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Credit: NASA

Throughout the engine examination, SpaceX has actually continued to introduce missions with the business’s own Starlink web satellites. Three successful Falcon 9 flights Oct. 6, Oct. 18, and Oct. 24 successfully provided 180 Starlink satellites to orbit.

SpaceX prepares another launch effort with the U.S. military’s next GPS navigation satellite as soon as 6: 28 p.m. EST (2328 GMT) on Nov. 4 from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Flying Force Station. A U.S. Area Force representative referred concerns on the engine examination to SpaceX, and a SpaceX spokesperson did not react to questions from Spaceflight Now.

The Nov. 4 launch chance for the Falcon 9 rocket with the armed force’s GPS 3 SV04 mission depends upon an on-time liftoff of a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket from neighboring pad 41 at Cape Canaveral at 5: 58 p.m. EST (2258 GMT) on Nov. 3. ULA’s Atlas 5 rocket will bring a classified payload into orbit for the National Reconnaissance Workplace, the U.S. government’s spy satellite firm.

If the Atlas 5 launch is delayed a day, the Falcon 9 flight with the GPS satellite is anticipated to be pushed back 24 hours up until Nov. 5.

Aside from the GPS, Sentinel-6, and Crew-1 missions, SpaceX has several more Falcon 9 flights in its stockpile that might release as quickly as next month.

They include the launch of another classified for the NRO on a Falcon 9 rocket, and a Falcon 9 flight with another batch of Starlink internet satellites.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1

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