NASA and SpaceX have postponed the planned launch of a new Dragon cargo ship this week due to a failure in the energy system on the International Space Station, agency officials said on May 1.
SpaceX now plans to launch the Dragon refueling mission on top of a Falcon 9 rocket no earlier than Friday (May 3), a delay of two days, NASA officials said.
The launch delay occurred at NASA's request, while Terra's engineers deal with a power problem in the station that began on Monday (April 29), when a problem appeared with one of the station's main bus switching units. The device distributes electricity to two of the station's eight power channels.
"There are no immediate concerns for the crew or station," NASA officials said in a statement released today (30 April). "The teams are working on a plan to robotically replace the failed drive and restore the total power to the station's system."
Related: How SpaceX Dragon's Space Capsule Works (Infographic)
The issue of power is not a concern for the six astronauts who currently live and work in the spacial station, but affected Canada's robotic arm of the outpost, NASA officials said.
Nasa spokesman Dan Huot told Space.com on Monday that the energy problem had affected one of the two power systems in the robotic arm, leaving it without a backup. The Canadarm2 robotic arm is vital to SpaceX's Dragon mission, as astronauts will use the appendix to capture Dragon when he arrives at the lab in orbit. The arm is also used to trap Dragon in the season.
NASA has requested that @SpaceX move from May 1 to May 3 for the launch of its #Dragon cargo mission to the station. https://t.co/inTfUoHT30 pic.twitter.com/3m3lchffdXApril 30, 2019
A pair of astronauts worked on the power supply of the robotic arm during a spacewalk held earlier this month, but this work focused on jumper cables along the length of the arm. The current problem, on the contrary, is with the station equivalent of a circuit breaker.
"Flight controllers have been working to route power through the six remaining power channels," NASA officials said in a statement. statement released yesterday.
The release has already been hit by two delaysThe rocket will take off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, which propelled the launch from April 26 to April 30 on account of "station restrictions and orbital mechanics."
When it is released, the capsule will depart on a three-day journey to the space station, where astronauts will unpack up to 5,550 lbs. (2,495 kg) of supplies it carried. This includes new supplies and new scientific experiments.
The mission, called CRS-17, will be the 17th SpaceX cargo delivery flight to NASA under a refueling agreement.
Space.com's managing editor, Tariq Malik, contributed to this report.