Crew Dragon launch delayed due to poor weather conditions

Crew Dragon launch delayed due to poor weather conditions

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Crew Dragon’s launch has been postponed due to bad weather in the Atlantic. In three days, the next commercial crew mission to the International Space Station will launch.

NASA’s announcement

NASA said early on Oct. 30 that the Crew-3 mission, which was planned to launch from the Kennedy Space Center at 2:21 a.m. Eastern on Oct. 31, will be postponed. The launch has been delayed for Nov. 3 at 1:10 a.m. Eastern, according to the agency.

The delay was caused by weather, not by the launch location itself. According to a forecast issued late Oct. 29, conditions at KSC were expected to be favorable, with a 90 percent likelihood of being accepted. The forecast was made during a briefing following the mission’s launch readiness review. Instead, NASA noted severe winds and waves in the Atlantic Ocean along the path that Crew Dragon will take as it is sent into orbit by a Falcon 9 rocket.

At the briefing, Sarah Walker, SpaceX‘s director of Dragon mission management, indicated that abort weather conditions were “minimal” at the time. “The weather has been a no-go in several of our downrange commit criteria the last couple of days,” she says.

NASA, however, postponed the launch a few hours after the briefing. The fresh launch attempt is intended to enhance weather conditions in the corridor. In addition, weather projections at KSC predict that the new launch attempt will have an 80% chance of success.

Next attempt for Launch

Independent of weather, the earliest probable launch date is Nov. 3. “We have a handful of days, November 1st and 2nd, that is just not ideal for orbital mechanics,” NASA commercial crew program manager Steve Stich explained.

NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, as well as ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, will be sent to the station for a six-month mission. Except for Marshburn, none of the astronauts have flown in space before; Barron has stated in interviews that she has never even seen a launch.

NASA and SpaceX stated at the briefing that they have completed the last work related to a toilet issue on the Crew Dragon spacecraft. In September, the fault was discovered on the Inspiration4 private mission. On that mission, a tube in a urine storage tank became disconnected, causing fluids to flow into a fan system. The liquid accumulated beneath the capsule’s floor, causing some corrosion.

While the toilet on the Crew-3 capsule Endurance has been repaired, repairs to the toilet on Endeavour will have to wait until it returns. SpaceX and NASA have agreed to “restrict the system’s operation during the Crew-2 return, the downhill portion of the mission,” according to Walker.

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