US space shuttle program was onto another historic encounter with the International Space Station (ISS) before an aborted flight on Wednesday. SpaceX's Dragon was less than a mile away from the ISS before aborting the flight due to a sudden flight with its GPS system. Meanwhile, the Russians had successfully launched its Soyuz-U mission flight before the unexpected technical issue with SpaceX's mission.
SpaceX will attempt the launch again on Thursday
US space shuttle program SpaceX's Dragon was launched on Sunday from the Kennedy Space Center. The capsule was ferrying cargo supplies and scientific experiments to the ISS before the incident; it also had a lightning imager and an ozone monitor on board. SpaceX managers said they will fix the faulty GPS system immediately and the Dragon can make another attempt to rendezvous with the ISS again on Thursday.
Although SpaceX had aborted flight missions in the past, this is the first time it will call off a flight when it was only seven-tenth of a mile away from its destination, US News reported. The spaceflight company is owned by Tesla's Elon Musk and has been running errands to the ISS since 2012. According to French astronaut Thomas Pesquet in a tweet from the ISS, "As a pilot, it is sometimes better to accelerate and circle around than attempt a difficult landing...same in space - we'll be ready tomorrow."
The Russian spacecraft will arrive the ISS on Friday
Since NASA's space shuttle program came to an end in 2011, it had been relying on Russia to ferry astronauts to space. But SpaceX among other private spaceflight companies came around and SpaceX became a key player in American spaceflight since 2012 and delivered supplies to ISS. The company is now set to deliver astronauts to the ISS next year - having run nearly 10 unmanned missions to orbit and returning safely to land on solid ground a number of times.
US space shuttle program is surely waxing stronger even with the aborted flight of SpaceX's Dragon on Wednesday. The Russians Progress-66 cargo mission is however scheduled to arrive the ISS on Friday. It was launched first on Wednesday from a cargo ship in Kazakhstan before SpaceX's Dragon took off from the Kennedy Space Center. The Russian flight mission will be delivering three tons of food, fuel, clothing and other supplies according to The Christian Science Monitor.