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NASA, SpaceX delay next astronaut launch until early or mid-November

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in the Crew Dragon capsule, lifts off from Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on May 30, 2020. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)
October 14, 2020

NASA and SpaceX won’t be sending astronauts to the International Space Station in the wee hours of Halloween after all.

NASA revealed Saturday that the SpaceX Crew-1 mission from Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station won’t happen any sooner than early to mid- November so SpaceX can complete hardware testing and data reviews of gas engine generators from a Falcon 9 rocket first stage during a recent non-NASA mission attempt.

“We have a strong working relationship with our SpaceX partner,” said Kathy Lueders, head of NASA’s human spaceflight office, said in a news release. “The teams are actively working this finding on the engines, and we should be a lot smarter within the coming week.”

On Sept. 30, SpaceX and NASA had set the crewed launch for 2:40 a.m. on Oct. 31.

When it happens, the launch will carry into orbit NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, the first woman to fly on a commercial flight, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. They are scheduled to spend six months on the space station.

The Crew-1 launch will be only the second time in the past nine years that humans have launched from American soil, after astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley ended that drought in May.


© 2020 The Orlando Sentinel