SpaceX launches Crew 1’s Falcon 9 rocket for Saturday’s astronaut launch


To update: SpaceX activated the new Falcon 9 booster B1061 after loading the entire two-stage rocket with liquid oxygen and kerosene propellant (RP-1), verifying the vehicle’s flight readiness and – awaiting confirmation of a successful test – maintaining the operational launch of the Crew Dragon astronaut runway debut for a take-off on Saturday 14 November.

SpaceX has decided to delay the Falcon 9’s upcoming static fire test to replace a component on the rocket’s expendable upper stage, a 24-hour slip that shouldn’t affect the astronaut’s operational launch debut date.

Earlier expected at around 7:49 PM EST on Tuesday, November 10, SpaceX has decided to push the first static fire of the Falcon 9 B1061 to no earlier than (NET) Wednesday night, November 11. As usual, SpaceX will put the rocket (and the spacecraft) through a nearly identical scenario to a real launch before takeoff, loading the Falcon 9 with propellant and firing all nine of the Merlin 1D’s booster engines to check the health of the vehicle.

Non-intuitively, for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon missions, the extremely valuable spacecraft (i.e. payload) remains installed on the rocket during Falcon 9’s pre-launch static fire. In doing so, that static fire also serves as evidence general hardware and software-in-the-loop for the integrated rocket and spacecraft, verifying that the self-contained software responsible for recognizing a failed rocket and activating the Crew Dragon abort system is functioning properly. as expected.

In case Falcon 9 done At one point during the static fire test, Crew Dragon’s cut-off thrusters fired instantly, bringing the unmanned spacecraft to safety and minimizing the fallout of an already costly mistake.

Speaking on a November 10 conference call, SpaceX Senior Director of Human Space Flight Programs Benji Reed briefly noted that SpaceX had decided to replace a component of the Falcon 9 upper stage “ purge system ” and planned to bring the entire rocket horizontally later that day. Despite the 24-hour static fire delay, the Crew-1 mission remains on track for launch no earlier than (NET) 19:49 EDT, Saturday, Nov 14, provided the Falcon 9 completes said static fire later today. .

Regardless of the outcome of today’s static fire attempt, SpaceX will immediately be confronted with a potential hurricane that will strike Thursday and United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) latest Atlas V NROL-101 launch attempt on Friday, lifting again once the seemingly ever-present question of which company will receive priority in the event of ULA delay. Stay tuned to find out!

Source link