Teams at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi removed the core of NASA’s first Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket from a test stand earlier this week for loading onto a barge to carry it to Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where the rocket stage is due to arrive by the end of the month to start final preparations for a test flight around the Moon.
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.