STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS & USED WITH PERMISSION
Two NASA astronauts, a Russian cosmonaut and an Emirati flew to the Kennedy House Heart Tuesday to start preparations for launch early Monday on a SpaceX Crew Dragon flight to interchange 4 crew members aboard the Worldwide House Station who’re wrapping up a five-month keep.
Launch had been deliberate for Sunday, however NASA and SpaceX managers ordered a 24-hour slip throughout a flight readiness overview Tuesday to permit extra time to shut out a handful of open technical points. Launch now’s focused for 1:45 a.m. EST Monday.
Steve Stich, supervisor of NASA’s industrial crew program, stated he expects the open gadgets to be cleared by the top of the week.
“Once we seemed on the work remaining to go on the automobile, getting Dragon and Falcon 9 able to go, we have been slightly bit behind on that work and so we’d like slightly bit extra time to try this,” he instructed reporters after the FRR concluded.
“We’re taking our time every step of the best way getting Dragon able to go, doing the right evaluation, getting Falcon 9 able to go, and ensuring we’ll go fly after we’re prepared.”
Earlier Tuesday on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Russian engineers hauled a Soyuz rocket and crew ferry ship to the pad, setting the stage for launch to the lab advanced Thursday night.
Three station crew members — Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio — had deliberate to return to Earth subsequent month to wrap up their very own six-month station go to. However their Soyuz MS-22 ferry ship was disabled by a presumed micrometeoroid influence December 14 that ruptured a essential coolant line.
The Russians are launching an unpiloted substitute Soyuz, MS-23, at 7:24 p.m. Thursday to present Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio a contemporary Soyuz that may carry them again to Earth in September after practically a full yr in house. They’ll get replaced by the unique MS-23 crew, who will fly up on the subsequent Soyuz within the sequence.
Assuming an on-time launch Thursday, the Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft is anticipated to hold out an automatic rendezvous with the house station, docking on the lab’s higher Poisk module round 8 p.m. Saturday.
On the identical time, SpaceX and NASA will probably be gearing as much as launch the Crew Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket at pad 39A early Monday.
The ship’s crew — commander Stephen Bowen, pilot Warren “Woody” Hoburg, cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev and United Arab Emirates flier Sultan Alneyadi — landed on the spaceport’s 3-mile-long Launch and Touchdown Facility runway a couple of minutes earlier than 12:30 p.m. Tuesday to start closing preparations.
“I’ve had the privilege over the previous couple of years of coaching with an unbelievable crew,” Bowen, a former submariner and veteran of three shuttle flights, instructed reporters on the runway. “They’re simply probably the most wonderful individuals. And it’s simply an unbelievable honor to be right here. We’re actually trying ahead to our mission.”
If all goes properly, SpaceX will haul the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon out of the corporate hangar and as much as the highest of pad 39A Wednesday. Bowen and firm plan to don their stress fits and strap for a dress-rehearsal countdown late Thursday, culminating in a simulated launch early Friday.
A number of hours later, after the crew departs, SpaceX engineers plan to check fireplace the Falcon 9’s first stage engines, setting the stage for launch Monday. If all goes properly, the Crew Dragon will meet up with the house station early Tuesday, docking to the Concord module’s higher port at 2:29 a.m.
Standing by to welcome them aboard would be the crew Bowen and firm is changing — Crew-5 commander Nicole Mann, Josh Cassada, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata and cosmonaut Anna Kikina — together with Prokopyev, Petelin and Rubio.
Prokopyev and his crewmates have been launched to the station final September and initially deliberate to spend six months aboard the lab. However on December 14, a presumed micrometeoroid influence resulted in a large coolant leak.
After an in depth evaluation, Russian engineers concluded the spacecraft couldn’t be relied on to soundly carry its three crew members again to Earth with out overheating. As a substitute, engineers labored to prepared the Soyuz MS-23 for launch forward of schedule to interchange the broken MS-22 ferry ship.
In an unlikely coincidence, a Russian Progress cargo ship docked on the station abruptly misplaced its coolant February 11, two months after the Soyuz incident. The Progress undocked final Friday and plunged again into the environment Saturday, breaking apart as anticipated over the southern Pacific Ocean.
Evaluation of post-undocking video and pictures confirmed what the Russians concluded could have been one other influence, just like however bigger than the one which broken the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft, or presumably the location of a leak attributable to some earlier drawback after launch.
In any case, the substitute Soyuz will dock on the identical port vacated by the broken Progress. At that time, all of the station crew members as soon as once more can have unbiased lifeboats — Crew Dragon and Soyuz — to be used within the occasion of an emergency which may require a direct evacuation.
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