March 31, 2014

SpaceX Delays Launch Of Third ISS Resupply Mission

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

SpaceX has once again delayed the launch of its third contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station, SpaceX-3.

NASA reports that this delay was caused by a "range asset issue," and officials are now working to determine the cause of an instrumentation outage.

According to an Air Force statement issued on Thursday: "A mandatory range asset supporting the NROL-67 launch went offline, March 24, 2014. An investigation revealed a tracking radar experienced an electrical short, overheating the unit and rendering it inoperable. The outage resulted in an inability to meet minimum public safety requirements needed for flight, so the launch was postponed. Initial assessment indicates repair of the tracking radar will take approximately three weeks. The Air Force is evaluating the feasibility of returning an inactive radar to full mission capability to resume operations sooner. The launch schedule impact is to be determined, pending resolution of the anomaly. Early indications are all launches scheduled for FY14 will be supported. More information will be provided as it becomes available."

The original launch date of March 16 was first postponed 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 on March 14.

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.

Updates will be provided by redOrbit as they become available.