Spaceflight Insider

Launch of SpaceX CRS-13 mission slips to Friday

SpaceX postpones CRS-13 mission to the International Space Station to Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. Photo Credit: Michael McCabe / SpaceFlight Insider

SpaceX postpones CRS-13 mission to the International Space Station to Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. Photo Credit: Michael McCabe / SpaceFlight Insider

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — After announcing a 24-hour slip to Dec. 12, SpaceX has pushed back the flight of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying the CRS-13 Dragon cargo mission to the International Space Station again to Friday, Dec. 15 at 10:35 a.m. EST.

The reason for this latest slip was to allow the launch team to conduct full inspections and cleanings after detecting particles in the second stage, SpaceX stated on its Twitter account.

If the Hawthorne, California-based company can’t launch Friday, the next opportunities will not occur until no-earlier-than late December, the company said.

When it does launch, the CRS-13 mission will be the first flight from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) since another Falcon 9 exploded during a pre-launch test on the morning of Sept. 1, 2016. Since that accident, Falcon 9 launches out of Florida have been conducted from nearby Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Besides being the first launch from the rebuilt SLC-40, this mission will be notable for being the first NASA mission to utilize a previously flown Falcon 9 first stage. Additionally, it will be the second previously-flown Dragon capsule. The first stage, core 1035, previously propelled the CRS-11 mission to the ISS in June 2017, while the Dragon capsule was used last during the CRS-6 mission in April 2015.




Derek Richardson has a degree in mass media, with an emphasis in contemporary journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also has a website about human spaceflight called Orbital Velocity. You can find him on twitter @TheSpaceWriter.

Reader Comments

The Russian Nauka module had the same problem in 2015, and they are still fixing it.

Not meant to criticize SpaceX, but one has to wonder what kind of technology/procedure is needed to fulfill Elon Musks dreams. They have years of experience, yet still delay a simple LEO launch on a proven vehicle several times, just to be sure…

First it was the pad then the rocket stage. These are the sort of annoying glitches that plagued the shuttle program throughout its history, so must be expected.

Such is life – better to delay until the bird is ready to fly than to succumb to launch fever.

Always better to err on the side of caution…. SpaceX obviously wants (needs!) a perfect launch.

I wonder if the same “better safe than sorry” comments would be made if this were anyone besides SpaceX?

Sure. Hardly anyone criticizes minor launch delays, with the notable exception of Putin throwing a tantrum over having to spend an extra day at Vostochny last year.

Minor? It’s been delayed 7 times. It’s had 3 launch dates in the past week alone! Comparing anyone who points this out to Putin – classic SpaceX fanboy mudslinging. Also, since when is asking a question akin to throwing a tantrum?

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