The measure follows an investigation into the aberrant behavior of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that was supposed to launch a GPS satellite for the U.S.
The upcoming astronaut launch, which will kick off SpaceX's Crew-1 mission to the International Space Station for NASA, also will employ a Falcon 9.
After analyzing a wide range of Merlin data, SpaceX found signs of a similar issue with two of the engines in the Crew-1 Falcon 9's first stage, as well as one Merlin in the first stage of the booster scheduled to loft the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich Earth-observing satellite for NASA and several of its partners on Nov.
So SpaceX is now swapping out all of those affected Merlins for ones known to be free of masking-lacquer residue, Koenigsmann said.
The investigation and troubleshooting process, which SpaceX conducted with the help of NASA and the Space Force, "led to a really good review and a really good anomaly resolution that, in my opinion, makes a better vehicle and a better engine going forward," Koenigsmann said.
14 launch of Crew-1, NASA officials said during Wednesday's news conference, though they stressed that the mission will launch when it's ready and not be constrained by an arbitrary timeline.
And NASA wants to see another Falcon 9 fly before the astronaut launch — specifically, the one that will loft the GPS satellite that was supposed to go up on Oct.
Processing of the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule that will carry the four Crew-1 astronauts — NASA's Shannon Walker, Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins and Japan's Soichi Noguchi — to the space station for a 6-month stay is coming along nicely, Stich said. .
If all goes according to plan, NASA and SpaceX will conduct a flight readiness review for Crew-1 on Friday (Oct. 30) and start loading propellant this weekend into the Crew Dragon, which its riders have named "Resilience," Stich said.
The quartet will travel to the Crew-1 launch site, NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on Nov.
Crew-1 will be SpaceX's second astronaut mission to the International Space Station for NASA.
On May 30, Elon Musk's company launched Demo-2, a test flight that carried NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the space station for a two-month stay!
SpaceX holds a $2.6 billion contract with NASA to fly at least six operational missions, the first of which will be Crew-1, to and from the station!
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