Bill Gerstenmaier, SpaceX’s vice president of build and flight reliability, participates in a Flight Readiness Review for the Crew-2 mission Thursday. Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
NASA and SpaceX officials are moving forward with preparations to launch the next commercial Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station next week after a Flight Readiness Review Thursday, pending a final evaluation of a discovery by SpaceX that it has potentially been loading slightly more propellant than expected into its Falcon 9 rockets.
The preliminary “go” for launch clears the way for ground teams at the Kennedy Space Center to roll out the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft to pad 39A for final testing. Liftoff with four astronauts on SpaceX’s “Crew-2” mission is scheduled for 6:11 a.m. EDT (1011 GMT) next Thursday, April 22.
The technical concern with how SpaceX loads liquid oxygen into the Falcon 9 launcher is presumably minor. The issue, if it is real, has not impacted the rocket’s success rate. SpaceX’s Falcon rockets have amassed a string of 97 straight successful launches since 2015.
Nevertheless, teams want to assess the issue before proceeding with plans for a test-firing of the Falcon 9 rocket for the next NASA ...