NASA and SpaceX have postponed the launch of the Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station to no earlier than 12.23 PM EDT (9.53 PM IST) on October 4. The American space agency and private space company are also maintaining a backup opportunity on Wednesday, October 5. The mission was initially scheduled to launch around October 3.
But the Crew-5 mission’s launch could be pushed back even further as mission teams are monitoring the impact of Hurricane Ian on the area surrounding the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Based on the current schedule, the crew arrival is planned for September 30.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft is currently mated to the Falcon 9 rocket and held securely at SpaceX’s hangar in Launch Complex 39A. NASA teams are making preparations to secure the property and infrastructure on the spaceport against the storm. Teams from NASA and SpaceX will evaluate the potential impacts of the storm to adjust the mission timeline further.
As the Crew-5 launch date moves, the undocking of the Crew-4 mission from the space station will move alongside, day-for-day. The Crew-5 flight will be carrying NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina. Mann and Cassada will serve as the mission commander and pilot respectively while the rest will serve as mission specialists.
NASA’s Artemis 1 mission’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft were rolled back to the Vehicle Assembly Building on September 27 to protect them from Hurricane Ian. AP reports that a launch before November is unlikely. It is more probably that the Artemis 1 mission will be launched in the window opening on November 12.