Technology 3 min read

SpaceX Delay: ISS Hit by Major Power Outage

WikiImages / Pixabay

WikiImages / Pixabay

SpaceX CRS-17 is a mission to the International Space Station on behalf of NASA that was hit by several delays since its first launch date was announced.

Since 2012, this should mark SpaceX 17th Commercial Resupply Service mission carried out for NASA.

Initially scheduled for April 26, SpaceX’s 17th mission to the ISS was postponed to April 30, then to May 1st.

Now, NASA says the mission can’t be launched earlier than May 3.

SpaceX Delay: Power Outage Furthers Problems of Launch

The objective of SpaceX’d CRS-17 mission is to provide food, research instruments, and spare parts to the ISS.

On April 26, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket should’ve lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida towards the ISS with a Dragon cargo spacecraft.

In the last minute, the launch was postponed until April 30, which NASA and SpaceX justified by the need for some more checks and tests, and also to wait for better orbital conditions.

But the Falcon 9 rocket didn’t take off on April 30 either.

The flight was again postponed to May 1st, and this time NASA has a serious issue to deal with before thinking of any SpaceX Dragon docking to the ISS.

On April 29, as crew members up there in the ISS were preparing for the arrival of the 5,500 pounds cargo, the ground team identified issues with one of the station’s Main Bus Switching Units (MBSUs) that distributes electricity to two power channels on the station.

Although NASA said there were no immediate concerns for the safety of the crew or the station, it did lead to a SpaceX delay of the launch.

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“Teams are working on a plan to robotically replace the failed unit and restore full power to the station system. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available. The earliest possible launch opportunity is no earlier than Friday, May 3.,” said NASA in a statement.

While six other power channels are still working, NASA’s team has concerns that the MBSU malfunction could impact the safe capture by the Canadarm2 of the Dragon once arrived.

It’s power channels feed all the electricity that solar arrays on the ISS generate through the station. NASA engineers want to make sure they rooted out the problem and restored full power to the system before giving their green light to the resupply mission to take off.

After several postponements of SpaceX CRS-17 mission for various reasons, NASA now says the “earliest possible launch opportunity is no earlier than Friday, May 3.”

Check back with us for updates as we’ll be following the development of this SpaceX delay.

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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