Miami, Jun 4 (EFE).- Due to high winds at the Florida launch site, NASA and SpaceX on Sunday were forced to postpone by 24 hours the liftoff of their joint mission to resupply the International Space Station.
The US space agency announced via Twitter that its CRS28 cargo mission – an uncrewed Dragon capsule carrying thousands of pounds of supplies for the astronauts and cosmonauts on board the orbital platform – would be postponed until 11:47 am on Monday.
“Standing down from today’s launch of @NASA’s CRS-28 mission to the @space_station due to high winds in the recovery area. New T-0 of 11:47 a.m. ET on Monday, June 5; teams will continue to monitor weather,” tweeted NASA.
SpaceX, meanwhile, said in a statement that the liftoff target is now Monday morning, when a new launch window will open up, although an alternative Cape Kennedy liftoff time of 11:01 am on Wednesday, June 7, is also available.
The Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon cargo capsule it will carry into orbit were both manufactured by SpaceX, a private firm owned by billionaire Elon Musk.
If it lifts off on Monday, as now planned, the Dragon capsule will dock automatically with the orbiting lab at approximately 9:50 am on Tuesday.
The liftoff on Sunday – which previously had been postponed from the day before – coincided with the passage through the region of Arlene, the first named storm system of the current Atlantic hurricane season, and although the system has already dissipated rain and high winds continue in the Cape Kennedy area, along Florida’s central eastern coast, thus forcing authorities to delay the launch yet again.
The Dragon will dock with the ISS Harmony module carrying more than 3,100 kilograms (7,000 pounds) of cargo, including scientific and technical equipment, as well as fresh food for the ISS crew – specifically, apples, vegetables, cheese and blueberries.
It will also carry two new solar panels to increase power availability for the ISS by 30 percent, and those panels will be installed on spacewalks scheduled for June 9 and June 15.
Each of those panels is 18.2 meters (60 feet) long by six meters (20 feet) wide and weight 340.5 kilograms (750 pounds).
The launch will be the 28th NASA/SpaceX supply mission and will also ferry to the ISS equipment for a project developed by Canadian and Australian universities to do research on the Canadian Arctic which could lead to greater understanding of the effects of the the northern polar region on the Earth’s climate.