Oct 28, 2020 1 min, 23 secs

NASA and SpaceX confirmed on Wednesday that they are targeting November 14 for the launch of the Crew-1 mission that will carry four astronauts to the International Space Station.

Originally scheduled to launch on Halloween, NASA delayed the launch after an engine issue aborted an October 2 launch attempt of a Falcon 9 rocket, at T-2 seconds, carrying a GPS III satellite for the US Air Force.

During a teleconference with reporters on Wednesday, SpaceX's Hans Koenigsmann explained what happened with the October 2 launch abort and what has been done to address the issue going forward.

Two of the rocket's nine first-stage engines ignited early during the early October launch attempt, and this triggered an automatic abort of the engines.

After this, SpaceX inspected other engines across its fleet (the company inspected new boosters only, as Falcon 9 first stages that have already flown are not subject to this issue).

SpaceX found that two of the engines on the Falcon 9 rocket that will be used for the Crew-1 launch also had this problem.

If all goes to plan, SpaceX will launch two new Falcon 9 first stages before Crew 1: the GPS III mission on November 4, and the Sentinel-6 mission for NASA on November 10.

Provided those launches go well, NASA will likely stick to the November 14 date for the Crew-1 mission that will send NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency mission specialist Soichi Noguchi, to the International Space Station.

This lacquer issue came as a surprised given that SpaceX has literally launched hundreds of new Merlin 1D rocket engines over the last decade and, until now, had not seen this problem with the masking agent.


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