A SpaceX launch was delayed earlier this week thanks to an apparent helium leak on board the vessel. While there has been no update, officials say we could see a launch by Friday.
CBS News reports that SpaceX was preparing to launch a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon cargo capsule on Monday until the aforementioned helium leak was detected. Not wanting to take any chances, the launch was grounded until they could sort out the problem.
“As folks heard on the anomaly net, we have encountered an issue that will result in our scrubbing today’s 4/14 launch attempt,” SpaceX launch director Ricky Lim said. “The team here will start to safe the vehicle, offload propellants and then working on the details of the next few days forward. So for now, launch is scrubbed. Propellants offload will be commencing here shortly.”
The next possible time for launch will be Friday at 3:25 p.m. NASA has already approved the time and date for the launch, but cautions that the weather may be bad. In the event that weather prevents a launch, NASA says a backup launch date of Saturday has already been approved.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 16, 2014
— NASA Astronauts (@NASA_Astronauts) April 16, 2014
While a SpaceX launch is always exciting, NASA wants to get the rocket into space for more than just eye candy reasons. The rocket is carrying a lot of supplies and equipment that astronauts on board the International Space Station need. For instance, the rocket will be carrying food, an extra space suit, spare parts for suits and stuff needed to grow salad-type crops in space.
In other news, SpaceX has just signed a 20 year lease to take over NASA’s historic Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. The launch pad was used as a takeoff point during NASA’s historic Apollo moon missions, and will be used by SpaceX as early as 2017. The private space company obtained the rights to use the launch pad after winning a bidding war against Jeff Bezos’ Blue Point. While Bezos’ private space venture would have used the launch pad for more than just launches, NASA gave it to SpaceX because the company was already equipped to start using the launch pad.
For all things SpaceX, including updates on rocket launches, be sure to check out the company’s live updates here.
Image via NASA/Twitter