WASHINGTON – The launch of SpaceSpace spacecraft to the International Space Station will be delayed one day because a problem…
WASHINGTON – The launch of SpaceSpace spacecraft to the International Space Station will be delayed one day because a problem that could be a first in space flow history: contaminated rodent food.
NASA announced by December 3 that the Falcon 9 launch of the Dragon Spacecraft on a mission designated CRS-16 had been delayed from its scheduled December 4 launch with one day. The delay is needed to replace food rods for a survey of rodents contaminated with mold. The launch is now scheduled for 1:16 p.m. Eastern Dec. 5 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
At a press conference on December 3, the Office officials warned that this “little question” could delay the launch, although at that time they hoped they could replace the food in time to allow the launching preparations to continue in schedule.
“When we were preparing to prepare the rodents on board the vehicle, we looked at some of the food bars that were necessary for rodents, and they were contaminated with some molds,” said Joel Montalbano, Deputy ISS Program Manager at the information meeting . NASA decided to replace all food bars for the experiment, including those already loaded on Dragon.
The rodent experiment is part of the “Late Load” load installed on Dragon Spacecraft less than 24 hours before launch. The exchange involved flying in unspecified hardware from the Ames Research Center in California, which was not scheduled to arrive at the launch site until late December 3 after the late loading load would normally be installed. Montalbano said at the intersection that NASA talked to SpaceX about how to modify the charging plan.
The rodent experiment is part of more than 1
,000 kilograms of scientific research found within the dragon of this mission, as well as several hundred kilograms of crew accessories and vehicle hardware. The spacecraft carries nearly 1000 kg of unpressurized cargo in the form of two experiments inside the spacecraft luggage section that will be mounted on the outside of the station.
A day change in launch will also enable improved weather conditions for launch. Forecasts had predicted a 60 percent chance of acceptable weather, with concern over clouds and cloudy rain from a suitable frontal system. The forecast for a launch on December 5 requires a 90 percent chance of acceptable weather.
The delay, however, deprives SpaceX of the opportunity to perform two launches almost exactly 24 hours apart. The launch window on December 4 was 1:38:51. East while another Falcon 9 lifted off from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 1:34 December 3 on a mission to place 64 smallsats in circulation.
The 24-hour separation is approximately as close as SpaceX can currently perform two launches. “Twenty four hours is about my comfort zone for data scrutiny,” said Hans Koenigsmann, Vice President of SpaceX Construction and Air Safety, said at the interconnection. Depending on the time of launch, he said it could be possible to compress the time between launches to as little as 13 to 14 hours.