16 April 2024

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy delays Crew-7 astronaut launch for NASA to Aug. 23

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SpaceX’s next astronaut mission for NASA will delay even later in August.

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Crew-7 will now launch on Aug. 23, five days past its last Aug. 17 target, to get the launch pad ready following the delay of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket using the same pad.

Falcon Heavy flawlessly launched the Jupiter 3 communications satellite on July 28, but SpaceX said it needs more time for launch pad processing at Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Jupiter 3 did not launch during previous scheduled attempts on July 26 or 27.

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“The adjusted date allows additional time for launch site processing,” NASA officials stated Tuesday (Aug. 1) of the new delay, the second such adjustment for the Crew-7 launch in the last week (it was originally expected to launch Aug. 15). Crew-7 will now launch at 5:23 a.m. EDT (0923 GMT) on Aug. 23 and you can watch the whole thing live here at 45secondes.fr, via NASA Television.

Related: SpaceX launches Crew-6 astronaut mission to space station for NASA

When it flies, Crew-7 will bring to space four people — NASA’s Jasmin Moghbeli, Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency, Japan’s Satoshi Furukawa and Russian cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov — to the ISS aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule named Endurance.

NASA has not released when Endurance will dock with the orbiting lab, but that generally takes place about a day after launch, which would put docking at about Aug. 24. Currently, Crew-6 is expected to return to Earth on Aug. 25, but that is subject to there being enough time for a handover between the two SpaceX crews.

Crew-7 will be the seventh operational astronaut mission for NASA that SpaceX sent to the ISS. As SpaceX has other customers, it will be the 11th time the company has sent people to space.

Other missions include the Demo-2 test mission to the ISS in 2020; the private Inspiration4 flight to Earth orbit in September 2021; and the Ax-1 and Ax-2 missions to the station in April 2022 and May 2023. (Ax-1 and Ax-2 are run by Houston company Axiom Space.)

NASA officials said the adjusted Crew-7 launch date will take other ISS activities into account, including the forthcoming launches of a Cygnus cargo spacecraft from Northrop Grumman, and a Roscosmos Progress cargo spacecraft. Both should launch to ISS “in the coming weeks,” the statement said.

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