SpaceX Resets Space Station Launch with Revolutionary Rocket Legs and Robonaut Legs to March 30

January 1, 2016 – 10:15 pm

Robonaut 2 engineering model equipped with new legs like those heading to the ISS on upcoming SpaceX CRS-3 launch were on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on March 15, 2014. Credit: Ken Kremer - kenkremer.comKENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – Following last week’s sudden and late in the processing flow postponement of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch, SpaceX announced a reset of its next cargo mission launch for NASA to the International Space Station (ISS) to a new target date of Sunday, March 30.

The Dragon spacecraft, filled with about 4,600 lbs of cargo bound for the space station, is mated with Falcon 9. Credit: SpaceXThe commercially developed Falcon 9 booster and Dragon cargo vessel are slated for a spectacular night time liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 10:50 p.m. EDT on March 30, SpaceX announced on Friday.

The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket sports a quartet of never before tried landing legs and the Dragon freighter is loaded with a set of lanky legs to enable mobility in space for NASA’s Robonaut 2 standing at the cutting edge of space robotics technology.

Launch preparations were suddenly halted less than 72 hours prior to the then planned March 16 early morning launch because of unspecified technical issues concerning the sudden discovery of “contamination, ” sources told me.

The Falcon 9 rocket with landing legs in SpaceX’s hangar at Cape Canaveral, Fl, preparing to launch Dragon to the space station this Sunday March 30. Credit: SpaceX

“To ensure the highest possible level of mission assurance and allow additional time to resolve remaining open items, the team is taking additional time to resolve open items and ensure SpaceX does everything possible on the ground to prepare for a successful launch, ” according to a statement from SpaceX.

Several sources told me that the problem related to “contamination” that was found in the “unpressurized truck section” at the rear of the Dragon spacecraft.

“After careful review and analysis, engineering teams representing both the ISS and SpaceX have determined Dragon is ready to fly ‘as-is.’ All parties agree that the particular constituents observed in Dragon’s trunk are in line with the previously defined environments levels and do not impose additional risk to the payloads, ” SpaceX announced in a new statement.


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