MAY 05, 2019 8:14 AM PDT

Delayed SpaceX Resupply Mission Launches As ISS Regains Full Power

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

It’s never a dull moment on the International Space Station, especially given just how quickly things can seem to go wrong when one of the Earth-orbiting space lab’s specialized electrical systems stops working as expected. Unfortunately, that’s precisely what happened last week, and astronauts had no choice but to fix it.

The International Space Station.

Image Credit: Pixabay

According to NASA, none of the performing astronauts were in any danger, but a failed power switching unit allegedly slashed the space station’s electrical power by an estimated 25%, resulting in complications that later compelled commercial space company SpaceX to delay one of its scheduled resupply launches that was supposed to happen on Wednesday.

Thankfully, a spacewalk wasn’t necessary to resolve the problem. Astronauts were able to replace the faulty power switching unit from the safety of the inside of the International Space Station with the help of the robotic arm, also known as Canadarm2. Luckily, replacing the unit restored the International Space Station’s electrical power to full capacity.

Related: International Space Station astronauts have made upgrades to the Earth-orbiting space lab

Despite the inconvenience of having to delay the SpaceX resupply launch, there was no concern that astronauts would run out of existing supplies. NASA is careful to plan for these kinds of unexpected delays, and another resupply mission that transpired just before Easter ensures that the astronauts will have everything they need up until the Dragon capsule finally reaches the International Space Station.

The delayed SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was expected to launch no later than Friday, but in an almost unreal set of circumstances, SpaceX exhibited electrical issues of their own just after NASA resolved theirs. The problem allegedly involved SpaceX’s drone ship, which often captures the company’s first stages as they fall back to Earth to perform an upright landing.

Related: SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule suffers unexpected anomaly

SpaceX delayed the launch for another day so that the electrical issue could be resolved before finally launching its Falcon 9 rocket with a payload of 5,500 pounds’ worth of fresh supplies and science experiments from the launchpad at Cape Canaveral, Florida at 3 A.M. Eastern time.

A beautiful photograph of the launch.

Image Credit: SpaceX/Twitter

The Falcon 9’s spent first stage landed on the drone ship just a few minutes later, and the astronauts on the International Space Station are expected to receive their shipment Monday.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage as it returned to Earth.

Image Credit: SpaceX/Twitter

Those interested in watching the launch can tune in to the SpaceX recording here:

Despite what seemed like a circus show at first glance, it now appears that NASA and SpaceX are on track to ensure that those working at the International Space Station will have everything they need to continue their roles. One can only hope that such hiccups don’t happen any time again soon…

Source: Phys.org, NASA, SpaceX (Twitter)

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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