Friday, July 19, 2024

Cargo Dragon launches to house station hours after Soyuz scrub

Cargo Dragon launches to house station hours after Soyuz scrub

WASHINGTON — A cargo spacecraft launched in direction of the Worldwide Area Station March 21, hours after a uncommon last-minute abort of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft launch to the station.

A Falcon 9 lifted off from Cape Canaveral’s Area Launch Complicated (SLC) 40 at 4:55 p.m. Japanese. The rocket’s payload, a cargo Dragon spacecraft, deployed from the Falcon’s higher stage 12 minutes after liftoff.

The Dragon is flying the CRS-30 mission to the ISS and is scheduled to dock with the station at about 7:30 a.m. Japanese March 23, remaining there a few month. The spacecraft is carrying 2,841 kilograms of cargo, together with a mixture of science experiments, crew provides and station {hardware}.

The launch is the primary time that the present model of Dragon has launched from SLC-40. SpaceX has utilized close by Launch Complicated 39A for launches of Crew Dragon spacecraft and its cargo variant, utilizing the launch tower and crew entry arm there. The final cargo flight from SLC-40 was CRS-20, ultimate launch of the unique cargo model of Dragon, in March 2020.

SpaceX has since constructed a tower at SLC-40 that permits that pad for use for cargo missions once more in addition to, finally, crewed missions. For cargo missions, the crew entry arm permits for late loading of time-sensitive cargo about 24 hours earlier than launch.

The brand new tower at SLC-40 is “practically functionally equivalent” to LC-39A, mentioned Sarah Walker, director of Dragon mission administration at SpaceX, throughout a March 19 briefing. The elevator on the new pad is upgraded in comparison with the one at LC-39A and has a unique emergency escape system than the “slide wire” baskets on the older pad. SLC-40 as a substitute makes use of chutes that may shortly unfurl for individuals to slip down.

SpaceX constructed the tower at SLC-40 to function a backup to LC-39A, assuaging congestion on the pads equivalent to in February, when the launch of the IM-1 lunar lander mission from LC-39A delayed NASA’s Crew-8 business crew mission from the identical pad by greater than every week. It additionally offers redundancy ought to one pad be broken.

Walker mentioned there was no agency plans but to launch a crewed mission from SLC-40 as SpaceX works with NASA to complete paperwork to certify use of the pad for NASA business crew missions. “They’re on-track to be pencils-down on that for NASA crewed missions forward of Crew-9, however we’ll transfer over to SLC-40 when we have to for the manifest.”

Soyuz delay

The CRS-30 launch was initially scheduled to be the second mission to the ISS to launch March 21. Roscosmos had scheduled the launch of the Soyuz MS-25 mission on a Soyuz-2.1a rocket at 9:21 a.m. Japanese.

Nevertheless, the launch countdown was halted simply 20 seconds earlier than liftoff. NASA initially had no particulars about what triggered the maintain that scrubbed the launch, and shortly ended TV protection of the launch try.

Roscosmos, in a Russian-language assertion posted on a social media account a number of hours later, blamed the scrub on “a voltage drop within the chemical present supply,” however didn’t elaborate. It mentioned the following launch alternative is March 23 at 8:36 a.m. Japanese. NASA mentioned in its protection of the scrub {that a} launch on March 23 would end in a docking two days later; the unique plan was for the spacecraft to dock simply three hours after a March 21 launch

NASA, in an announcement later within the day, mentioned the launch was scrubbed “by floor assist tools as a result of low voltage studying within the Soyuz rocket electrical system.” The scrub seems to be the primary time a Soyuz crewed mission was aborted within the ultimate phases of its countdown.

Soyuz MS-25 is carrying NASA astronaut Tracy C. Dyson, who’s going to the station for a six-month keep, together with Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy and a Belarusian visitor cosmonaut, Marina Vasilevskaya. Novitskiy and Vasilevskaya will return about 10 days after docking on Soyuz MS-24 with NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara, who’s finishing a six-month keep on the ISS. Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub, who launched to the ISS final September with O’Hara on Soyuz MS-24, will stay on the station for an extra six months.

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