Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) postponed Monday’s scheduled Cargo Resupply Services (CRS) mission until Friday at the earliest due to what NASA called a Falcon 9 first stage helium leak, company spokeswoman Hannah Post said Monday.
The launch was scrubbed about an hour from Monday’s scheduled 4:58 p.m. EDT liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. SpaceX last November originally postponed a Falcon 9 launch for satellite manufacturer SES due to what company founder Elon Musk said on Twitter was pressure fluctuations on Falcon’s boost stage liquid oxygen tank. The rocket’s first stage is commonly referred to as the boost stage. Post said Monday the two events are unrelated.
The CRS-3 mission is to take cargo and scientific goods to the International Space Station (ISS). It is also a critical mission for SpaceX on its path toward becoming certified to compete for Defense Department national security space launches as part of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. If SpaceX meets Air Force qualifications, it can compete for a portion of the multi-billion dollar space launch market.