SpaceX and NASA postpone Crew-7 launch to Saturday

SpaceX and NASA have announced that they are delaying the launch of the Crew-7 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) by 24 hours. The mission, which was originally scheduled to lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 3:50 a.m. ET on Friday, August 25, 2023, will now target a launch window of 3:27 a.m. ET on Saturday, August 26, 2023.

Reason for the delay

According to a social media post by SpaceX, the delay was made to “provide teams additional time to complete and discuss analysis”. The company did not specify what kind of analysis was required, but said that “the vehicles remain healthy and crew is ready to fly”.

SpaceX and NASA postpone Crew-7 launch to Saturday
SpaceX and NASA postpone Crew-7 launch to Saturday

NASA spokesperson Rob Navias said during a livestream that “mission managers met and elected to postpone the launch of the Crew-7 crew for 24 hours to provide just a bit more time to close out some open paperwork”. He did not elaborate on the nature of the paperwork, but assured that there were no technical issues with the rocket or the spacecraft.

The US Space Force, which oversees rocket launches, forecasts a 95% chance of favorable weather conditions for the Saturday launch.

Crew-7 mission overview

The Crew-7 mission will be SpaceX’s seventh operational mission to the ISS for NASA, and the 11th human spaceflight overall for the company. It will also be the first mission to feature four astronauts from four different space agencies: NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and the Russian space agency Roscosmos.

The four crew members are:

  • Jasmin Moghbeli, NASA astronaut and mission commander. She will be making her first trip to space. She is a former Marine Corps test pilot and helicopter instructor.
  • Andreas Mogensen, ESA astronaut and mission pilot. He will be making his second trip to space. He is a former aerospace engineer and consultant.
  • Satoshi Furukawa, JAXA astronaut and mission specialist. He will be making his third trip to space. He is a former physician and surgeon.
  • Konstantin Borisov, Roscosmos cosmonaut and mission specialist. He will be making his second trip to space. He is a former military pilot and instructor.

The crew will fly aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule Endurance, which has already flown two previous missions to the ISS. The capsule will launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center.

The mission will last about six months, during which time the crew will conduct various scientific experiments, maintenance tasks, and outreach activities. They will also welcome several visiting vehicles, including cargo resupply missions, commercial crew missions, and a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

The crew will join the seven astronauts already on board the ISS, bringing the total number of occupants to 11. The Crew-6 astronauts, who have been on the station since March 2023, will depart about five days after Crew-7’s arrival.

How to watch the launch

NASA and SpaceX will provide live coverage of the launch on their respective websites and social media platforms. The coverage will begin at 2:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, August 26, 2023, and will include pre-launch briefings, launch countdown, liftoff, docking, hatch opening, and welcome ceremony.

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