SpaceX Cargo Run to Station Delayed as Engine Probe Continues

Debris from the rupture of a Falcon 9 engine during the Oct. 7 launch. (Screen shot from NASA TV video)

Florida Today reports that an investigation into the premature shutdown of a Falcon 9 engine will delay the next cargo flight by about seven weeks:

SpaceX has delivered a Falcon 9 rocket to Cape Canaveral while continuing an engine-problem investigation that will delay the booster’s planned launch from mid-January to early March.

Company and NASA engineers are still sorting out what caused one of nine Merlin engines to shut down early during the Oct. 7 launch of a Dragon cargo capsule to the International Space Station, NASA officials told an advisory committee….

But Mike Suffredini, NASA’s ISS program manager, said last month that the outpost is well-stocked, and there is no urgency to fly the next Dragon mission, the second of 12 under a $1.6 billion contract.

“We’re in really good shape on orbit, so we could move quite a bit to the right and not really be impacted by it,” he said during a news conference Oct. 26. “So we’ve got plenty of time to sort out root cause. The team is doing an excellent job.”

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