Dragon ISS Resupply Mission Delayed Two Weeks By SpaceX
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
The Elon Musk-founded company announced on Thursday evening that it will be moving Dragon’s launch from March 16 to March 30.
“Both Falcon 9 and Dragon are in good health; given the critical payloads on board and significant upgrades to Dragon, the additional time will ensure SpaceX does everything possible on the ground to prepare for a successful launch,” SpaceX said in a statement. The company added on Facebook that it is doing everything it can to “resolve open items.”
Dragon will be carrying up materials to support more than 150 science investigations planned for the ISS Expeditions 39 and 40. SpaceX said that it is filling up Dragon’s pressurized capsule and unpressurized trunk with about 4,600 pounds of supplies and payloads.
In February, SpaceX added four landing legs to its Falcon 9 rocket, made of state-of-the-art carbon fiber with aluminum honeycomb. The company added these legs in an attempt to try and make the Falcon 9 rocket reusable. SpaceX has attempted to keep its rocket alive in the past after splashing down into the ocean by restarting its engine, but so far this method has left it unusable after launch. The hope is that the landing legs could eventually guide Falcon 9 back down towards Earth to preserve it for future missions.
Dragon was initially planned to arrive at the space station on Tuesday and stay for four-weeks before returning to Earth on April 17. However, this two week delay pushes back its timeline to the point that it will be leaving the station just before a Russian Soyuz arrives with the next trio of astronauts in May.
The upcoming mission is the third of at least 12 missions to the space station under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract SpaceX has with NASA.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 will not only be carrying up the Dragon capsule to space, but will also bring along five CubeSats as part of the mission.