On Friday evening, November 13, NASA and SpaceX announced that Crew Dragon’s first operational commercial crew program mission would be delayed 24 hours on Sunday, November 24 at 7:27 pm EST (0027 GMT 11/16). During the Crew-1 pre-launch news conference, SpaceX’s senior director of the human spaceflight program, Benzie Reid, said the delay was driven by the impact on recovery efforts caused by Tropical Storm Ata, which had damaged Florida for days.
Just before the news conference, United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully launched its Atlas V rocket after suffering its own delay earlier in the week. The NROL-101 mission carried a classified payload to the US Government National Reconnaissance Office and was successfully launched from Space Launch Complex 41 (SLC-41) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 5:32 pm EST.
Florida weather caused many launch delays
The delay has had a major impact for SpaceX and ULA over the past few weeks, due to weather, particularly Tropical Storm Eta. The ULA Atlas V 531 rocket was secretly stacked with the NROL-101 payload, initially set to liftoff on 3 November, marking the first time the damage to the upper-stage environmental control system hardware had occurred.
According to the company’s CEO, Tori Bruno, as the rocket was transported from ULA’s Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) to the SLC-41’s launchpad, very strong winds damaged a duct that controlled the flow rate of the upper paying environmental control system Happened. As a result, the rocket was replaced in the duct so that the duct could be replaced. A launch effort for the next day was launched on Wednesday 4 November due to an unrelated problem with the ground support equipment.
The NOL-01 mission was then scheduled to launch on Sunday, November 8, but that effort was eventually called off due to the closed weather that would be brought to the Florida Peninsula by the storm of the time. On Friday, November 6, the Atlas V531 rocket and payload for the National Reconnaissance Office once again returned to the VIF for protection from the storm.
The final launch attempt was identified on Friday 13 November, just 22 hours before the NASA Crew-1 mission of the NASA Crew-Space Center, just 22 hours before the scheduled launch of SpaceX. Fortunately, the weather was long held to lift the ULFA Atlas V531 rocket. After liftoff and successful payload deployment, the mission was later declared a full success by ULA.
Florida weather also delayed offshore recovery, affecting the crew
Similarly, SpaceX and NASA Crew-1 missions have also suffered a setback due to inclement weather, although not at the launch site. Following the successful launch and landing of the B1062 Falcon 9 of the recent GPSII-SV04 mission on Thursday, November 5, SpaceX recovery teams battle the turbulent seas to return course and Still Love You (OCISLY) boosters and recovery droneships. Of. Safe back at Port Canaveral.
After safely securing B1062 to OCISLY, SpaceX recovery vessel GO Quest took refuge at the port of Morehead City, North Carolina. The recovery crew would wait to assist in the recovery of the B1061 Falcon 9 of the Crew-1 mission instead of returning to Port Canaveral in Florida. The droneship Just Read the Instructions (JRTI) was intended to meet the crew of GO Quest in the crew-1 booster recovery zone before the end of the week.
Due to the strong winds and bumpy seas churned by Tropical Storm Eta, the OCISLY droneship made an exceptionally tedious 7-day voyage that hugged the east coast of the United States to return to Port Canaveral. The delay led to delays in the crew transfer process from OCISLY to JRTI which hindered the departure of the JRTI droneship.
Tropical Storm Asta moved out of Florida and Atlantic waters remained much harsher for the lost time for the JRTI droneship. Following the conclusion of SpaceX’s Crew-1 preflight launch readiness review on Friday, November 13, it was announced that the Crew-1 launch effort would be delayed by 24 hours due to delays in obtaining recovery droneships in the B1061 landing zone.
Recovering Falcon 9 boosters of any mission is a secondary mission objective. However, the recovery of the Crew-1, B1061 Falcon 9, is critical for both NASA and SpaceX – enough to delay a launch attempt. NASA and SpaceX have already designated this booster to be used again on the next Crew Dragon mission, Crew-2, intended for no earlier than March 30, 2021. To reuse a booster to save launch costs, it must first be successfully recovered. .
If all goes to plan, three astronauts from NASA and an astronaut from Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will board the Crew Dragon Resilience on Sunday, November 15, and detonate at the International Space Station at exactly 7:50 am EST (0027 11) . / 16) from LC-39A at Kennedy Space Center.
NASA and SpaceX will provide a live broadcast of all the Crew-1 shows on Sunday, November 3 starting at 15:00 EST on NASA TV and the SpaceX website.
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