First private mission to the ISS, NASA will continue to test the lunar rocket

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NASA’s new lunar rocket, the Space Launch System, rolls towards the launch pad under moonlight. (Nasa)

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is at the center of some major space events over the next two weeks, as Nasa continues to test its large moon rocket and the first all-private space missions head to the International Space Station, followed by the next launched schedule of NASA astronauts to the ISS.

SpaceX Falcon 9 carries Axiom-1 — Friday, April 8

Axiom-1, the first all-private mission to the ISS, is scheduled for launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at 11:17 a.m. ET on Friday. A four-person Axiom space team will blast off in a SpaceX Dragon Capsule team atop a Falcon 9 rocket to spend eight days on the space station performing experiments in robotics, cancer biology and laundry detergent.

The launch liver cover can be found on both the SpaceX website and the Axiom of Space Website beginning around 7:55 a.m. Eastern Time, while NASA will broadcast live launch activities beginning around 10 a.m. EST.

Axiom Space is a commercial space station company developing a new module for the International Space Station, one the company hopes to add and eventually detach to become a self-contained private space station by the time the ISS retires in 2030.

While Axiom develops its space station, it plans to send regular commercial space crew flights to the ISS to help with module development and participate in space tourism. Axiom-1 will be the first such mission.

The crew of Axiom-1 includes the former astronaut of NASA Michael López-Alegría as commander of the mission, the Canadian banker Mark Pathy investment as a mission specialist Larry Connor, an official of the nonprofit education of Ohio as a pilot mission, while veteran of the army of the Israeli air and man Eytan Stibbe business also serves as a mission specialist. The four crew members will spend eight days aboard the ISS before returning to Earth.

While a SpaceX dragon capsule will take the Axiom-2 crew to the ISS, its competitor will get a second chance on an uncrewed flight to the space station over the next month and a half.

NASA’s SLS and Orion – TBD

Monday, April 4, NASA began the “repetition wet holding” of its space rocket Space Launch System (SLS) Moon and Orion spacecraft at its peak. The tests involve pumping cryogenic fuel in the rocket, test the countdown and other systems, and to recover fuel and liquid oxygen from the launcher, which is why it is called a dress rehearsal “wet “for launch.

But NASA called for the test to be stopped on Monday evening morning after pumping half the liquid oxygen waited in the big rocket when pressure control valve triggered a security warning.

Nasa officials said the valve problem is the type of minor issue the wet dress rehearsal is designed to detect, and does not reflect any major issues with the rocket. They plan to try again to complete the wet dress sometime after the Axiom-1 launches on Friday.

Rocket Rocket SLS and Orion is set in the heart of the Artemis program of NASA, which aims to make humans to the Moon with the mission Artemis III scheduled for 2025. The space agency lifts the 322-foot-tall rocket out of the Vehicle Assembly Building Kennedy Space Center March 17 to complete final tests on the launch pad 39B before a test flight, the unmanned mission Artemis I, later this year.

After the dress rehearsal, Nasa will take the SLS back to the Vehicle Assembly Building for final evaluations and determination of Artemis I launch data – the space agency is currently considering launch windows in May, June and July .

If Artemis I can lift off this year, Artemis II, a crewed mission to orbit the Moon, is scheduled for May 2024.

25th Mars Helicopter flight — Some time after April 8

Although the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA can not yet say exactly when his helicopter Ingenuity is preparing for a record flight on Mars sometime after Friday.

When it raises off, the double rotor UAV battery and solar energy will be flying 704 meters above the crater Jezero Martian scout a path to a dry river bed for Mars rover Perseverance .

The helicopter and the rover on Mars got together in February 2021, Ingenuity performing its first flight April 19, 2019, the first controlled powered flight on another world.

JPL’s Ingenuity team was recently received the prestigious Collier Trophy for achievements in aerospace for the performance of Ingenuity.

Boeing OST-2 – early April

Nasa has awarded two companies with contracts for its commercial crew program to fly astronauts to the ISS, SpaceX and Boeing. But while SpaceX began regular crewed Dragon service in 2020, Boeing’s Ran Strainer spacecraft ran into a computer glitch during its 2019 orbital test flight that prevented the uncrewed spacecraft from docking with the space station.

A second shot on this test flight, a mission listed as OST-2, went further delayed in August and has been rescheduled for May 20. According to reports by Spaceflight Nowhowever, a change to the Space Force payload launch schedule could allow OST-2 to launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket in the first half of April.

NASA Crew-4 – April 21 or 23

Nasa’s fourth mission to the ISS under the space agency’s Commercial Crew Program will now rise at least a day later than scheduled to accommodate the launch of Axiom-1 on Friday, said NASA human spaceflight program manager Kathy Lueders tweeted on Wednesday. .

NASA commercial crew missions have flown aboard SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets in the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft since 2020. The Crew-4 mission, unlike Axiom-1, consists of government astronauts only – astronauts from NASA Jessica Watkins, Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines and European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.

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