As a Russian cargo ship successfully lifted off to the International Space Station on Feb. 22, a U.S. counterpart mission has been postponed because of a navigation software glitch.
On Wednesday, a SpaceX Dragon capsule loaded with more than 2,500 kilograms (5,500 pounds) of supplies was supposed to dock with the space station, but scientists detected an incorrect value in its GPS software system.
NASA officials said the Dragon capsule cargo delivery, which was blasted off from a newly renovated and historic launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center last Sunday, will be resumed on Thursday, Feb. 23.
Rob Navias, a spokesperson from NASA, said the unmanned Dragon capsule is in excellent shape.
"It did exactly what it was designed to do," said Navias.
However, the Dragon capsule was about 1,200 meters (3,937 feet) from the station when the incorrect value was spotted in its navigation system, which is vital determining its place in the sky with the orbiting lab. The glitch occurred at 3:25 a.m. EST.
Astronauts aboard the space station were in no way harmed by the glitch, Navias said.
The GPS software issue can be fixed by SpaceX as soon as possible, allowing the Dragon capsule to resume its mission on Thursday.
The spacecraft launched Sunday from the historic Pad 39A at Kennedy, which once launched the Apollo mission to the moon. This is a first for the California-based spaceflight company. It's also SpaceX's 10th cargo delivery mission for NASA.
Cargo Resupply Mission
The mission's delay will not negatively affect the supplies or scientific equipment aboard Dragon, Navias said. The equipment includes several biological experiments, including a lethal superbug known as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or staph.
In a joint venture, NASA and scientist Anita Goel aim to observe the reaction of the superbug to zero-gravity environment. It will also help researchers understand the superbug's mutation and antibiotic resistance.
The superbug is tightly packed and sealed with three levels of containment. This will protect the bacteria from rapid depressurization and keep it safe from the difficulties of space travel.
The Dragon capsule is also carrying a test module called Raven, which will be used to collect information and test technologies that will help NASA develop a spacecraft that can dock with satellites at 16,000 miles per hour.
Once Dragon arrives at the space station on Thursday, Raven will be attached to the orbiting habitat's exterior, where it will work for two years. A robotic arm will capture Dragon when it arrives.