SpaceX cargo launch delayed by space station glitch

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Unfortunately, the space station's power distribution system is acting up, and it will take some time to complete the repairs.

Nasa said on Tuesday that the station and its six astronauts were safe.

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The units take power from the station's solar arrays and route it into eight channels that run through the station. SpaceX and NASA both cited the issue as an "anomaly" and have yet to comment further, but that doesn't mean SpaceX doesn't have other work to do.

The breakdown has left the station's big robot arm outside with one functioning power channel instead of two. The earliest possible launch opportunity is no earlier than Friday, May 3.

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NASA said Tuesday that there are now no immediate crew safety concerns, and that the team is working to "robotically replace the failed unit and restore full power" to the ISS. Then, in 2017, flight controllers used the station arm to replace a second MBSU, proving the task could be accomplished robotically. However, NASA has since delayed the launch after early Monday morning teams discovered an issue with the station's electrical power system.

The spacecraft, filled with 3 tons of experiments, provisions and supplies, was due to arrive on Saturday at the ISS if it had launched on Wednesday.

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The 45th Weather Squadron is forecasting rain and thick cloud cover Friday, putting conditions at 60 percent "go" for launch. The electricity is rerouted to all parts of the station through four switches known as Main Bus Switching Units (MBSUs). "These are just lifetime issues", he said, adding that are a number of spares available. In addition to cargo within the pressurised hold, the spacecraft is also set to carry external cargo including the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-3). "We'll probably do that in the future".