NASA announced that on Saturday August 28 he will carry out his next mission supply to the International Space Station (ISS) using a Dragon capsule from the private firm SpaceX, owned by tycoon Elon Musk.
A Falcon 9 rocket, with the cargo capsule at its peak, It will take off at 3:37 in the morning (4:37 in Argentina) that day from a platform at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida (USA), according to the US aerospace agency.
What will be the twenty-third commercial supply mission of the orbital laboratory transport a variety of scientific material and supplies to the ISS.
This will allow NASA to carry out, among others, “a study on the prevention and treatment of loss of bone density, an investigation that will test diagnostic devices that could detect and mitigate vision disorders “, as explained by the agency on its blog.
The capsule will also carry materials such as “concrete, fiberglass composites and substances that can offer radiation protection to investigate how they respond to the harsh environment of space.”
The Cargo Dragon will take off after NASA and Boeing announce indefinite suspension of the second test mission of the Starliner capsule, after a problem with 13 valves of its propulsion system was discovered shortly before its takeoff for the ISS, scheduled for the beginning of this month.
After a study of the problem, the engineers decided to disassemble the capsule of the Atlas V rocket to transfer it to a ship where they would open four of those valves that still remained closed, to carry out a “deep analysis” of the problem.
The suspension of the mission, called OFT-2, was a serious setback for Boeing, which had high expectations around this second test flight of the unmanned capsule, after a failed mission in 2019.
Boeing and SpaceX have million-dollar contracts with NASA to handle the transfer of astronauts and equipment to the space station from US soil.
SpaceX has already conducted two manned missions to the ISS, to which is added a test with astronauts, in addition to several cargo in their Dragon capsules.
Bezos vs NASA
Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’ space company, filed a lawsuit against NASA based on a complaint that the Amazon founder said as soon as the agency’s decision to work alongside SpaceX was known. The main reason: that NASA does not work with the two companies.
From the space agency they indicated that they do not have enough money to hire the services of more than one company. In that sense, they commented that they received only a quarter of the budget they requested from the United States Congress.
Bezos devised the counterattack and offered NASA a $ 2 billion discount to allow you to participate in the construction of the lunar probe.
“NASA should bet on its original strategy of competition,” said the businessman and assured that without this bid the agency will soon run into “limited options when it tries to negotiate on deadlines, design changes and cost overruns.”
The NASA rejected the proposal of the tycoon. On demand Blue Origin is also targeting SpaceX. In the documents delivered to the United States Federal Claims Court, they note that the Starship ship of the firm led by Musk required more than 10 test launches and that it only has three.