NASA said it’s delaying the Crew-1 launch to at least early-to-mid November as SpaceX wanted extra time to finish evaluating the “off-nominal behavior” of a Falcon 9 rocket during a private flight.
SpaceX is interested in knowing what happened with the first stage engine gas generators before moving forward.
NASA associate administrator Kathy Lueders said both the agency and SpaceX were “actively working this finding” and hoped to be a “lot smarter” about the engines within the next week.
Other NASA flights depending on the Falcon 9 are still on track, including a partnership with the ESA on a satellite (Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich) which will launch on November 10th and a resupply mission due in late November or early December.
Much is riding on Crew-1. While the Demo-2 flight made history as a return to American astronauts launching from their home soil, Crew-1 represents the first standard NASA mission using an occupied, privately made capsule.
It’ll be a while before such flights are considered normal, but this is a crucial step in that direction.