After a one-day delay to wait for improved conditions in the offshore abort zone, SpaceX and NASA launched four astronauts at 5:49 a.m. EDT (0949 GMT) Friday aboard a Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spaceship from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The astronauts docked with the International Space Station at 5:08 a.m. EDT (0908 GMT) Saturday for a planned six-month mission.
Preparations for the planned liftoff Thursday of a SpaceX Dragon capsule with a four-person crew to the International Space Station cleared another readiness review Tuesday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, but officials are tracking marginal wind and sea conditions in downrange abort zones in the Atlantic Ocean that could force a launch delay.
NASA’s acting administrator said Tuesday he does not expect Russian cosmonauts to start launching to the International Space Station on U.S. commercial crew vehicles until next year. A proposed agreement with Russia to ensure the space station is always staffed with an international crew is awaiting U.S. government approval.
After completing a dress rehearsal for launch day over the weekend, the four astronauts gearing up for liftoff Thursday on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket are in good spirits and spending time with their families in Florida before leaving the planet for a six-month expedition on the International Space Station. Forecasters with the U.S. Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron predict an 80% chance of acceptable weather for launch early Thursday.
NASA and SpaceX officials are moving forward with preparations to launch the next commercial Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station next week after a Flight Readiness Review Thursday, pending a final evaluation of a discovery by SpaceX that it has potentially been loading slightly more propellant than expected into its Falcon 9 rockets.