from the slight-delay-so-just-eat-slower dept.
A SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station has been pushed back to no earlier than July 11 after teams discovered elevated vapor levels of propellant. [...]
Following additional inspections and testing of the Dragon spacecraft, the investigators managed to identify the source of the leak as being a faulty Draco thruster valve inlet joint, which controls the flow of propellant. [...]
This marks the second delay for the cargo resupply mission, the first delay being announced on June 6. The first delay happened after ground teams detected elevated vapor readings of mono-methyl hydrazine while loading the propellant, forcing them to stand down from the launch attempt. [...]
The NASA and SpaceX partnership continues to be a strong one. The space agency recently bought five additional Crew Dragon flights to the ISS after NASA's other commercial partner, Boeing, failed to deliver its own crew vehicle on schedule. The recent glitch with Crew Dragon, it's fair to say, likely won't have much of a bearing on this fruitful working relationship.
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NASA and SpaceX have delayed the launch of a Cargo Dragon spacecraft for at least a couple of weeks due to an issue during the prelaunch loading of hypergolic propellants.
The space agency had been planning to launch the spacecraft on June 12 but announced the delay in an email on Monday evening to reporters.
"During propellant loading of the Cargo Dragon spacecraft, elevated vapor readings of mono-methyl hydrazine were measured in an isolated region of the Draco thruster propulsion system," the space agency's statement said. "The propellant and oxidizer have been offloaded from that region to support further inspections and testing."
Draco thrusters provide on-orbit maneuvering propulsion for the Dragon spacecraft. NASA said that it is working with SpaceX to identify the source of the elevated readings and take any corrective actions. On Tuesday morning, astronauts on board the International Space Station were told by Mission Control in Houston that the launch date would slip until at least June 28.
This is not a new Dragon vehicle. Designated Dragon "C208," this vehicle has previously flown two supply missions, both in 2021. It is an upgraded version of the original Cargo Dragon spacecraft, known as "Cargo Dragon 2."