SpaceX’s next cargo mission to the International Space Station won’t be launched this week after all.
The robotic flight, called CRS-25, will send a file SpaceX Dragon capsule towards the laboratory that orbits above A Falcon 9 A rocket from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The take-off was scheduled for Friday (10 June), but that won’t happen.
“NASA and SpaceX are backing off this week’s Falcon 9 launch of the CRS-25 cargo mission to International Space Station, NASA officials wrote in an email statement this afternoon (June 6). “Officials from NASA and SpaceX met today to discuss an issue identified over the weekend and the best way forward.”
This issue includes hydrazine, the propellant used by Draco Dragons. The NASA statement explained that while refueling Dragon, technicians measured elevated vapor readings of hydrazine in one part of the Draco system.
“The fuel and oxidizer have been unloaded from that area to support further inspections and testing,” the statement added. “Once the exact source of the elevated readings is identified and the cause has been determined, the joint NASA and SpaceX teams will identify and announce a new target launch date.”
As its name suggests, CRS-25 will be the 25th robotic resupply operation SpaceX launches to NASA’s International Space Station. It will be the third mission for this particular Dragon, which was also launched on cargo missions to the orbital laboratory in December 2020 and August 2021.
SpaceX Dragon has already been docked to the orbital laboratory – file A capsule called Freedomwhich carried four astronauts to the station in late April for a period of six months. SpaceX holds a separate contract with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to conduct such missions for astronauts, and has already launched five of them so far, with a crewed test flight counting in May 2020.
Mike Wall is the author of “Abroad (Opens in a new tab)Book (Great Grand Publishing House, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book on the search for extraterrestrials. Follow him on Twitter Tweet embed (Opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter Tweet embed (Opens in a new tab) or on Facebook (Opens in a new tab).