SpaceX explains damage to rocket that will take astronauts to ISS in September

Two weeks ago, the Digital appearance reported that the launch of the SpaceX Crew-5 mission was delayed by a month due to a problem with the Falcon 9 rocket launcher that occurred while transporting the vehicle from California to Texas. The take-off then moved to the end of September.

Similar to the image above, the launch vehicle for the Falcon 9 rocket that will be used for the SpaceX Crew-5 mission was damaged when it hit a bridge. Picture: Tom Durr –

At the time, however, the cause of the incident had not been revealed. During a press conference held this Thursday (4) via NASA videoconference, Benjamin Reed, senior director of SpaceX’s manned spaceflight program, gave an explanation: the booster was damaged in a collision. “The booster stage hit a bridge on the road. »

As usual before any launch, the booster was on a tractor-trailer traveling between a SpaceX factory in Hawthorne, California, and a test facility in McGregor, Texas when the crash occurred.

“We assessed this issue. It was a fairly small raid, but it still caused some damage,” Reed continued. “We decided to replace the composite intersection and some of the other components at this first stage. He added that SpaceX went through a “very robust analysis and testing process on this Falcon 9.”

The Crew-5 mission includes NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, Japan’s Koichi Wakata and cosmonaut Anna Kikina, as part of an established seat-swap partnership between Russia and the United States in a contract signed last month. They found out about the incident a few days later, according to the website. space.com.

SpaceX explains the damage caused to the rocket that will take
SpaceX Crew-5 crew members, Anna Kikina (Roscosmos), Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann (NASA) and Koichi Wakata (JAXA), during a press conference held this Thursday (4). Image: NASA Television

“Everybody is certainly of the same opinion that the material must be reliable and that it must be secure,” Nicole said at a separate press conference. “We are fully confident that NASA, SpaceX and their international partners will not put us on a rocket or spacecraft that they believe is not ready to go. »

While the seat swap agreement between NASA and Roscosmos appears to be a white flag between the agencies, preparations for the Crew-5 mission are nonetheless taking place against the backdrop of additional turbulence in relations between the two key partners in the ISS.

After months of threats from the Russian space agency, new CEO Yuri Borisov hit the hammer in July: they will end participation in the ISS “after 2024”, which is the year in which the current agreement expires.

Borisov then clarified the statement, saying Roscosmos will “begin the exit process” in 2024 as it prepares to build and operate a Russian space station by the end of the decade. NASA and its international partners stressed on Thursday that discussions were underway to negotiate a separation in the coming years.

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