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ISS resupply mission on schedule after SpaceX Crew Dragon mishap

SpaceX's 17th resupply mission to the International Space Station, slated for April 30, had already been delayed before the crew capsule's anomaly.

By Brooks Hays
ISS resupply mission on schedule after SpaceX Crew Dragon mishap
A SpaceX Falcon 9 Heavy rocket launches from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 11. Photo by Joe Marino-Bill Cantrell/UPI | License Photo

April 22 (UPI) -- The "anomaly" experienced by SpaceX's Crew Dragon won't affect the company's planned space station resupply mission next week.

NASA said SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is still scheduled to launch the company's Dragon cargo spacecraft on April 30, sending it to the International Space Station.

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"The NASA and SpaceX teams are still assessing the anomaly that occurred, but I can tell you we are still tracking, as of today, for Tuesday, April 30, and that launch will be at 4:22 a.m. Eastern time," NASA spokesman Joshua Finch told reporters during a teleconference on Monday.

The resupply mission was originally scheduled to blast off on April 26, but last week NASA announced a delay.

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"April 30 is the most viable date for both NASA and SpaceX, due to station and orbital mechanics constraints," the space agency noted in an update.

On April 20, a cloud of smoke rising from test facilities at Cape Canaveral, Fla., could be seen from miles away. Reports confirmed the smoke was the result of an explosive accident involving SpaceX's Crew Dragon.

Both SpaceX and NASA acknowledged the failure.

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SpaceX referred to the accident an "anomaly" during the final of a series of engine test fires.

"Ensuring that our systems meet rigorous safety standards and detecting anomalies like this prior to flight are the main reasons why we test," SpaceX told UPI in a statement. "Our teams are investigating and working closely with our NASA partners."

SpaceX reported the anomaly was quickly contained and no one was injured.

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The exploded spacecraft was the same vessel that completed the first commercial crew program test flight earlier this year. The Crew Dragon capsule was supposed to conduct another test flight this summer. 

Currently, the space agency and its astronauts rely on Russian rockets and crew capsules to ferry Americans to and from ISS -- an agreement with Roscosmos that ends in early 2020.

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