SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft rolled out to pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Friday. Hydraulics raised the 215-foot-tall (65-meter) rocket vertical on the historic launch pad in preparation for liftoff with four astronauts heading for the International Space Station.
The two-stage launcher, powered by a booster stage reused from a crew launch in November, is set to take off Thursday at 6:11 a.m. EDT (1011 GMT) with NASA commander Shane Kimbrough, pilot Megan McArthur, Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and European Space Agency mission specialist Thomas Pesquet.
All veterans of previous space missions, the four astronauts are setting off on a six-month expedition on the space station. They will ride into orbit inside the cabin of SpaceX’s commercial Crew Dragon Endeavour spaceship, also refurbished after a flight last year.
The Crew-2 mission marks the first time SpaceX has launched a crewed mission using a reused rocket and spacecraft. It’s the third Crew Dragon flight with astronauts overall, and SpaceX’s second full-up crew rotation mission to the space station.
The Falcon 9 rocket rode a transporter along rail tracks for the quarter-mile trip up the ramp to pad 39A, beginning just after sunrise Friday. SpaceX lifted the rocket vertical on the launch pad later the same day.
See our Mission Status Center for comprehensive coverage of Crew-2 flight to the International Space Station.
Additional photos of the Falcon 9 rocket’s rollout to pad 39A are posted below.
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