SpaceX created Crew Dragon, a crewed spacecraft, to transport crews to the ISS (International Space Station). It is based on the Dragon supply capsule without the crew. SpaceX will carry out the last adjustments required to have Dragon ready to safely move astronauts into space during the CCiCap (Commercial Crew Integrated Capability) initiative’s base period. When it comes to the Crew Dragon mission, NASA has demonstrated a strong commitment. A few snags have arisen, though. After the Falcon 9 launcher that would launch it was harmed during shipment across the nation for testing, NASA is postponing the next commercial human trip to the International Space Station by about a month.
The Crew-5 mission, which was initially supposed to launch in early September, will now not be able to take off before September 29, according to a July 21 NASA announcement. Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann of NASA, Koichi Wakata of JAXA, and Anna Kikina of Roscosmos will all travel to the station in this spacecraft.
The new launch window “will enable SpaceX to finish hardware processing,” according to NASA’s statement. Now, Crew-5 will land at the International Space Station (ISS) following a Soyuz crew transition of power in mid-September when Soyuz MS-22 with Roscosmos cosmonauts Dmitry Petelin and Sergey Prokopyev and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio arrives. Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Korsakov, Oleg Artemyev, and Denis Matveev will return in the Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft.
Given SpaceX’s extensive use of reused boosters, the Crew-5 launch is going to utilize a fresh Falcon 9 booster, a fairly rare occurrence. In response to damage sustained during transport from SpaceX’s production plant in Hawthorne, California to its booster testing facility in McGregor, Texas, NASA said that SpaceX was required to remove the rocket’s interstage, or the space between the booster as well as upper stage, as well as some instrumentation.
NASA claimed it reviewed the work done by SpaceX to verify the damage was contained to the interstage through inspections and running tests of the booster. Before receiving flight certification, the booster will now go through routine stage testing at McGregor.
The damage to the booster was not disclosed by NASA or SpaceX. At a prelaunch briefing for the CRS-25 supply Dragon flight to the station on July 13, Dana Weigel, who is the NASA ISS deputy program manager, stated that Crew-5 would still launch in early September.
NASA representatives, however, stated that the launch had been delayed at a briefing on the Artemis 1 mission on July 20. The fact that Crew-5 is scheduled to launch in early September and that mission has 3 potential launch dates on August 29, September 2, and September 5, respectively, has prompted concerns about potential conflicts.
Jim Free, who is the associate administrator in charge of the exploration systems development, referred to conversations with the commercial crew program regarding scheduling launches by saying, “We were working closely with them before Crew-5 slipped.” “If we end up going nearer the end of September, we’ll do the same thing.”
Ironically, NASA has grown accustomed to transporting astronauts aboard Crew Dragon and repurposed Falcon 9 launchers. A Falcon 9 launcher, which was flying for the fourth time, was utilized to launch the Crew-4 mission to the space station in April.