NASA delays manned SpaceX mission to space station till November

In a statement posted Saturday, the agency said that there had been "off-nominal behaviour" of the Falcon 9 first stage engine gas generators during a recent non-NASA mission launch attempt. They'll also be there to welcome the Russian Soyuz vehicle and next SpaceX Crew Dragon in 2021.

NASA announced that it was delaying the launch of its SpaceX Crew-1 mission to the International Space Station until early to mid-November because of issues with the spaceflight company's Falcon 9 rocket.

Rescheduled for early-to-mid November, the SpaceX Crew-1 mission will carry three NASA astronauts-Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker-and JAXA specialist Soichi Noguchi to the International Space Station.

It's not known what data or other insights company engineers might have relied on to clear the Starlink rocket and payload, both owned by SpaceX, for launch. Likely built side by side at SpaceX's Hawthorne, CA factory, it's not unreasonable to want to verify that Falcon 9 booster B1061 (Crew-1) is unaffected by the same issue that forced B1062 to abort its United States military GPS III satellite launch on October 2nd.

Falcon 9 booster B1061 was static fired in McGregor, Texas around April 2020. The launch was originally scheduled for October 31 at NASA's Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

NASA said the issue with the Crew-1 mission will not delay another Falcon 9 launch, of the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich Earth observation satellite, scheduled for November 10 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Falcon 9 B1058 and capsule C206 prepare for Crew Dragon's inaugural astronaut launch, May 2020. (SpaceX)SpaceX's first upgraded Cargo Dragon spacecraft has shipped to Florida ahead of the first orbital meeting of two SpaceX spacecraft. Earlier this year, a Falcon 9 boosted a Crew Dragon into orbit on the program's first piloted test flight, carrying NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken to and from the space station. SpaceX's Pad 39A turnaround record - the time between two launches from the same pad - is roughly 10 days and that figure is likely much higher for Crew Dragon missions.

If current dates hold, NASA will have to decide which SpaceX Dragon mission to launch first.

SpaceX has launched 17 Falcon 9 rockets so far this year, the most recent on October 6 when the company successfully fired 60 more Starlink internet satellites into orbit. That date has now been pushed back following a mishap on the launchpad during a separate SpaceX mission earlier this month, with the agency allowing the company time to get to the bottom of the issue before launching its astronauts into space for just the second time.

Check out Teslarati's newsletters for prompt updates, on-the-ground perspectives, and unique glimpses of SpaceX's rocket launch and recovery processes.

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