NASA late Thursday scrubbed the planned launch early Friday of four fresh crew members to the International Space Station in order to resolve a few unspecified paperwork issues. The launch was reset for Saturday.
Crew-7 commander Jasmin Moghbeli, European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen, Japanese astronaut-surgeon Satoshi Furukawa and Russian cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov had planned to blast off from the Kennedy Space Center atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 3:50 a.m. EDT Friday.
But shortly before 10 p.m. Thursday, multiple sources indicated the flight had been called off, and NASA made it official shortly thereafter.
The launch attempt is now targeted for 3:27 a.m. EDT Saturday, and forecasters predict a 95% chance of good weather.
A NASA spokesman said the delay was required “to allow mission managers to close out a couple of items and to resolve just one minor technical issue with one piece of open paperwork. That will get resolved in the next 24 hours.”
The scrub had no impact on the rendezvous of a Russian Progress cargo ship with the space station. Launched Tuesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the unpiloted Progress, loaded with 2.7 tons of equipment and supplies, remained on course for a docking at the station’s aft port at 11:50 p.m.
The station crew carried out an unrelated debris avoidance maneuver Thursday morning to prevent a possible close encounter with a piece of satellite debris, but NASA officials said the slight change in the lab’s orbit would have no impact on the Progress docking or the Crew-7 launch.
Moghbeli and her crewmates had planned to dock at the space station Saturday morning, 22 hours after launch. Assuming a launch Saturday morning as now planned, docking will occur at 8:50 a.m. Sunday.
Mogensen and Furukawa each have a previous station visit to their credit, but it will be the first flight for Borisov, the third Russian to launch aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon, and for Moghbeli, a Marine Corps helicopter test pilot and veteran of more than 150 combat missions.
Moghbeli and her crewmates will be welcomed aboard the station by commander Sergei Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio, who launched to the lab nearly a full year ago aboard a Soyuz spacecraft.
Also on hand: Crew-6 commander Stephen Bowen, pilot Woody Hoburg, United Arab Emirates astronaut Sultan Alneyadi and cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev.
Moghbeli, Mogensen, Furukawa and Borisov are replacing Bowen and his Crew-6 colleagues., Bowen’s crew plans to undock from the station after a five-day handover, splashing down off the coast of Florida to wrap up a six-month mission.