TIME NASA

Helium Leak Delays SpaceX Rocket Launch

NASA hopes to finally launch the rocket on Friday afternoon, weather permitting, after Monday's supply mission that would have brought 5,000 pounds of food and other supplies to the six astronauts aboard the International Space Station was scrubbed

SpaceX cargo mission was forced to delay its launch scheduled for 1:58 p.m. Pacific time Monday due to a helium leak. NASA announced over Twitter that because of a helium leak, the launch won’t happen until Friday afternoon. NASA is trying to launch SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft carrying 5,000 pounds of supplies to the International Space Station (ISS).

The planned launch by the privately-owned Space Exploration Technologies Corp. — which is headed up by Tesla’s Elon Musk — was already off to a rocky start, when NASA announced over the weekend that there was a failure in one of the space station’s backup computers that helps land the cargo ship. The mission managers said on Sunday that they would proceed with the take-off from Cape Canaveral, Fla. on Monday. They said the primary system was running well, and the glitch would not harm the mission.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Dragon’s capsule contains “food, science experiments, and even a set of legs for Robonaut 2, NASA’s humanoid robot aboard the space station, designed to help astronauts with tasks in space.” The supplies will be used by the six astronauts aboard the ISS, including three Russians, two Americans and one Japanese.

The next available launch time is Friday at 3:25 p.m. EST, but that date could be scrapped as well if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Once completed, the mission will be the third of SpaceX’s 12 planned launches for NASA as part of the company’s $1.6 billion contract with the space agency.

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