NASA delays Crew-2 undocking by 24 hours

Unfavorable Weather Conditions for the Launch

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The undocking of a Crew Dragon spacecraft from the International Space Station has been postponed by a day by NASA. The delay was caused by high winds at splashdown areas in the Gulf of Mexico.

NASA said on Nov. 7 that the undocking of the Crew Dragon spacecraft Endeavour, which was scheduled for 12:05 p.m. Eastern that day, will be postponed. When the spacecraft splashes down in the Gulf at 7:14 a.m. Eastern on Nov. 8, the weather forecast indicates it will be “unfavorable for recovery.”

NASA has rescheduled the undocking for Nov. 8 at 2:05 p.m. Eastern, with a splashdown off the Florida coast at 10:33 p.m. Eastern.

Sarah Walker, director of Dragon mission management at SpaceX, reported winds at the splashdown areas were several kilometers per hour during a Nov. 6 media teleconference. This was beyond the spacecraft’s capabilities. The principal splashdown area has a speed limit of 14 km/h, whereas an alternate location has a speed limit of 18.5 km/h.

She stated that the newly chosen managers will wait until a six-hour briefing. This is before the previously scheduled undock time so that we can acquire the most up-to-date weather information and decide whether or not to go ahead with the undocking.

Extra Opportunities for the Launch

An undocking and return on Nov. 8 would still allow NASA and SpaceX to proceed with the Crew-3 mission launch on Nov. 10 at 9:03 p.m. Eastern. Additional launch opportunities will be available on November 11 and 12.

A gap of fewer than 48 hours between Crew-2’s splashdown and Crew-3’s launch “is a manageable amount of time,” Walker said. Because personnel and assets, such as boats, are largely separated between splashdown and launch, he explained. The interval between Crew-2’s return and Crew-3’s launch provides ample opportunity to analyze data from Crew-2’s return.

Crew-2’s return to Earth before Crew-3’s launch is referred to as an “indirect” handover by NASA. The agency favors a direct transfer, in which Crew-3 arrives at the station before Crew-2 departs, allowing for a station overlap. Weather and a small medical issue with a Crew-3 astronaut delayed the launch from the end of October to the beginning of November.

Ready for the Launch

Station officials said on the call that keeping Crew-2 in orbit until after the delayed Crew-3 launch was no longer an option. Ven Feng, deputy manager of the commercial crew program, said the Crew-2 Crew Dragon would meet its certification maximum of 210 days in orbit on Nov. 19.

According to him, there are no known concerns that would prevent the spacecraft from remaining in orbit past that point. As the month progresses, and possibly even into December, the weather does not improve. ”

There will still be one NASA astronaut on board in the days between Crew-2’s departure and Crew-3’s arrival, which is set for 7:10 p.m. Eastern Nov. 11 if it launches Nov. 10. Mark Vande Hei arrived at the station in April on a Soyuz spacecraft and will stay until next March.

“That gave me more confidence in our decision to land first before we launch,” NASA ISS program manager Joel Montalbano said.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *