SpaceX teams and the four crew members set for blastoff this week to the International Space Station completed dress rehearsals Sunday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, familiarizing the astronauts with their launch day checklist and testing out the Falcon 9 rocket that will carry them into orbit.
The multinational crew scheduled to ride a SpaceX rocket into orbit Wednesday arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Saturday as ground teams rolled their Falcon 9 booster and Dragon Endurance spacecraft to the launch pad, resuming work suspended earlier in the week as Hurricane Ian moved across Florida.
NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina arrived at Kennedy Space Center on Saturday to begin the final few days of launch preparations before they depart on a five-month expedition on the International Space Station. The crew completed a a dress rehearsal Sunday, when they boarded the Dragon spacecraft on launch pad 39A to practice for launch day. SpaceX followed that with a test-firing of the Falcon 9’s main engines at 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT).
Three Russian cosmonauts rode a Soyuz spacecraft back to Earth Thursday after departing the International Space Station to wrap up 195 days. The Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft carrying cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev, and Sergey Korsakov undocked from the station at 3:34 a.m. EDT (0734 GMT) and landed at 6:57 a.m. EDT (1057 GMT).
The forecast track of Hurricane Ian across Central Florida has forced SpaceX and United Launch Alliance to postpone several launches planned in the coming days at Cape Canaveral, including the next crew flight to the International Space Station, a Starlink mission, and the liftoff of an Atlas 5 rocket.
Two Russian cosmonauts completed a 7-hour, 47-minute spacewalk outside the International Space Station Friday to continue testing and readying the European Robotic Arm for regular operations, finishing tasks originally planned for a spacewalk last month that was cut short by a spacesuit battery problem.