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SpaceX’s next astronaut mission for NASA has been pushed to November following an issue with its rocket engines



Shannon Walker, Victor J. Glover, Soichi Noguchi that are standing in the snow: From left: mission specialist Shannon Walker, pilot Victor Glover, Crew Dragon commander Michael Hopkins, and mission specialist Soichi Noguchi at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, on September 24, 2020. SpaceX


© SpaceX
From left: mission specialist Shannon Walker, pilot Victor Glover, Crew Dragon commander Michael Hopkins, and mission specialist Soichi Noguchi at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, on September 24, 2020. SpaceX

  • NASA’s next mission with SpaceX will launch “no sooner than early-to-mid November,” the agency announced Saturday.
  • That mission, called Crew-1, will ferry four astronauts to the International Space Station and back.
  • The launch was previously slated for Halloween. The delay allows SpaceX to investigate an issue with its Falcon 9 rocket engines.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

NASA’s four-astronaut team will have to wait a little longer to visit the International Space Station. The agency announced Saturday that Crew-1, its joint mission with SpaceX, won’t take off until at least early-to-mid November.

The mission was previously scheduled for 2:40 a.m. ET on October 31. The latest delay allows SpaceX to evaluate an with its Falcon 9 rocket engines during a recent test launch. The rocket’s gas generators demonstrated abnormal behavior, NASA said in a statement, though it didn’t specify what went wrong.

SpaceX aborted a scheduled launch of its Falcon 9 rocket on October 2 after a gas generator saw an unexpected rise in pressure.


Falcon 9's first stage is powered by nine Merlin engines at the bottom of the rocket. NASA


© NASA
Falcon 9’s first stage is powered by nine Merlin engines at the bottom of the rocket. NASA

This isn’t the first time SpaceX has delayed Crew-1, the company’s first official, contracted astronaut mission for NASA. The mission was originally slated to launch as early as September. It was pushed back until Halloween to better coordinate with the schedules of other cosmonauts and astronauts going to and from the ISS. 

NASA said it could have more information on the engine problem in a matter of days. 

“The teams are actively working this finding on the engines,” Kathy Lueder, associate administrator of NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, said in a statement. “We should be a lot smarter within the coming week.”



a couple of people that are standing in the snow: NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken flew a 63-day mission with SpaceX's Crew Dragon vehicle. SpaceX; Business Insider


© SpaceX; Business Insider
NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken flew a 63-day mission with SpaceX’s Crew Dragon vehicle. SpaceX; Business Insider

Meet the Crew-1 team

Crew-1 includes NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Mike Hopkins, and Victor Glover, as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi. Hopkins is slated to be the mission’s commander, Glover the pilot, and Walker and Noguchi mission specialists.

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Of the crew members, Glover is the only one who hasn’t been in space before, but he has logged more than 3,000 hours of flying experience. Noguchi is the most experienced member of the team: He has flown on Russia’s Soyuz capsule and the US Space Shuttle.

Come launch time, nine Merlin engines will lift the Falcon 9 rocket – and SpaceX Crew Dragon spaceship — off the launch pad. When the rocket goes beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, its first stage will detach from the spaceship. Its engines will then fire up again to steer the first stage to a predetermined landing site. The rocket’s second stage will ultimately propel the

SpaceX’s Tesla roadster made its first close approach with Mars



a close up of a car: "Starman" driving SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's Tesla roadster.


© SpaceX/Getty Images/FILE
“Starman” driving SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s Tesla roadster.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s Tesla roadster made its first close approach to Mars on Wednesday.

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The roadster, “driven” by a mannequin dubbed “Starman” wearing a spacesuit, was part of a dummy payload attached to the second stage of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy Rocket that launched in 2018.

SpaceX tweeted yesterday that the vehicle made its first close approach with Mars, coming within 5 million miles of the planet.

“It’s a long distance,” Jonathan Dowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told CNN. “Mars would appear about 1/10 the diameter of the Moon, so small but not a point.”

Dowell tracked the rocket using NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Horizons system, which has an accurate trajectory calculated from the Falcon 9’s initial orbit as it left Earth. He says that it is in elliptical orbit around the Sun.

The vehicle has completed approximately 1.7507 orbits around the Sun, according to the website whereisroadster.com, which tracks the vehicle’s location.

The vehicle is over 37 million miles from Earth and has traveled nearly 1.3 billion miles since launching nearly 2 years and 8 months ago, whereisroadster.com says.

However, it will be some time before it comes close to Earth again.

“It will pass about 5 million km from Earth in the year 2047,” Dowel said. “Not close enough to see it as a resolved object.”

Starman could one day crash-land back on Earth. Based on calculations made in a paper by Hanno Rein from the University of Toronto in Canada, the roadster has a 6% chance of crashing on Earth in the next million years and a 2.5% chance of crashing on Venus.

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