The US spacecraft has been loaded with supplies for the International Space Station ready to launch Thursday, identifying this first trip since Soyuz's rocket fails with three people failed last month
At the last moment, NASA added some additional supplies for the three orbiting scientists, in case. The next launch of Soyuz, with three more spaces aboard – one Russian, one Canadian and one American – has been scheduled for December 3.
Additional equipment includes additional spare for the station's water recovery system and urine processor, NASA spokeswoman told AFP.
There are several such systems already in place on the ISS, but the extras are intended to be contingent in case the station goes through a period where no-one is on board. The current three-sided crew is only slated to January.
Astronauts have lived continuously in the orbiting since 2000, arriving and leaving crews from two to seven at a time. The cargo will be transported to space on the Cygnus cargo ship, launched by the Antares rocket from Wallops Island, Virginia, at 4:49 am (09H49 GMT) on Thursday.
That is, if the weather works together. From Tuesday, the forecast was only 30 percent favorable, with thick clouds and rainfall likely to interfere with launch plans, NASA said. After the Soyuz rocket fails on October 11 just a few minutes after the fall – the first event in this post-Soviet space travel history – Russia gave a holding of every flight.
The astronauts on board did not hurt. However, Russia has blamed the problem on a damaged detector during the cosmetic assembly of Baikonur.
Russia is currently the only country in the world that can launch people to space. The US capability came to an end in 2011 when the space shuttle program retired after 30 years.
Published in Daily Times, November 15th 2018.