SpaceX cargo launch slips a day after rodent experiment snag

File photo of a SpaceX Dragon capsule in orbit. Credit: NASA

NASA has announced a one-day delay in SpaceX’s next cargo launch until Wednesday to allow time for ground teams to replace moldy food bars meant for 40 mice heading for the International Space Station as part of a biological research experiment, denying the launch company a chance at two Falcon 9 launches on back-to-back days.

The commercial cargo flight, previously set for Tuesday, is now scheduled for 1:16 p.m. EST (1816 GMT) from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. The Falcon 9 will loft SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule into orbit in pursuit of the space station, where astronauts will snare the supply ship with the station’s robotic arm.

NASA officials said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon that the mission could be pushed back a day after ground crews discovered moldy food bars intended to feed mice set to ride to the station in the Dragon’s pressurized cabin. The space agency confirmed the one-day slip in a brief statement Tuesday night.

“The launch was moved to Wednesday after mold was found on food bars for a rodent investigation prior to handover to SpaceX,” NASA said in Tuesday night’s update. “Teams will use the extra day to replace the food bars.”

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