SpaceX CRS-5 Slips Another Day to January 10

SpaceX CRS-5 Slips Another Day to January 10

The launch of SpaceX’s fifth operational cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS) has been delayed another day, to January 10, 2015.  The launch time for SpaceX CRS-5, or SpX-5, that day is 4:47 am EST.  NASA TV coverage will begin at 3:30 am EST.

The launch was scrubbed on Tuesday, January 6, just over one minute before launch.  The problem was with a thrust vector control actuator in a second stage engine.  That was the latest is a series of schedule changes for this mission, whose original launch date was December 9. 

If launch does not take place on Saturday, the next opportunity is Tuesday, January 13, at 3:36 am EST. 

The launch is generating a lot of interest because SpaceX plans to return the Falcon 9 first stage to an “autonomous drone ship” as a further step in its goal to develop a reusable rocket.   SpaceX officials stress, however, that the primary objective of this mission is delivering cargo to the ISS.   SpaceX is one of two companies that provide “commercial cargo” services to NASA. The other, Orbital Sciences Corporation, is currently recovering from the loss of its Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft in an October launch failure and it is not clear when its next launch will take place.  Thus, NASA is quite anxious to get this SpaceX mission launched to deliver 5,108 pounds of food, water, clothing, research experiments and equipment.

The delay could also affect other SpaceX launches.  The launch of the NOAA-NASA-Air Force Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) was already delayed by an earlier slip to this SpX-5 launch.

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