NASA has announced that it has delayed the launch of the SpaceX Crew-1 mission. The agency noted last Saturday that the launch will probably take place anytime in November but the exact date is still unknown. The mission is hoping to take three US astronauts into the International Space Station and one from Japan’s space agency JAXA.
The original launch of the Crew 1 Mission was planned for October 31st. The astronauts were to stay at the International Space Station for a period of six months. But issues with the first stage engine of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket meant that the planned launch had to be pushed back until all these problems were fixed.
The partnership between NASA and SpaceX is expected to pave a new path in space exploration. The US federal agency has recognized that the Musk-led space company has made major leaps in the production of quality rockets, especially the Falcon 9. As a matter of fact, the Crew-1 mission is among the six planned missions towards the ISS under this partnership.
SpaceX has already come through for NASA as far as technology goes. The company successfully executed its first Crew Dragon Flight dubbed the DM-2 where two NASA astronauts were successfully transported into the ISS and back. This is of course not the last mission and if everything holds, it’s likely we will see another crew into the ISS before the end of November.
For so many years, NASA relied heavily on Russian-made rockets to launch US astronauts into space. The federal agency started to transition towards private companies.
SpaceX got the contract to provide rockets for NASA in 2014 and ever since, the California-based company has delivered. It’s clear that NASA has no intention of building rockets in the long run. After all, SpaceX, a private space company, has enough technology to get astronauts into space and back.
It’s safe to say that NASA is likely going to rely on these rockets for years to come as it moves away from Russian made ones. So far, the November mission is planned on a Falcon 9 rocket but we already know that SpaceX is already in the process of replacing these rockets with new next-gen rockets dubbed “Starship.” The company says that Starship will be a fully reusable rocket and the largest ever made when it finally debuts.
The hope is to use it for commercial space travel. The argument here is very simple. Traditional rockets simply crash and burn every time they return to the earth. In essence, they can only be used once and this makes space exploration very expensive.
A reusable Starship rocket from SpaceX, on the other hand, would massively cut the cost of launching people into space, something that will eventually open the door for commercial space travel. But we’re still far away from that since the first Starship rocket isn’t expected to hit the skies until 2023.