NASA and SpaceX are preparing for the second operational flight of the Crew Dragon spacecraft. On Friday, four astronauts are due to block a ride in the Dragon, lifted into orbit on top of the workhorse’s Falcon 9 booster. It’s going to be an early morning flight for US viewers. Here’s how you can follow along live.
The launch was originally scheduled for Thursday, but NASA hit it back a day because of “unfavorable weather along the flight path.” The 45th US Space Force Weather Squadron predicts a 90% chance of good lift weather for Friday.
Some familiar hardware will help the new crew get off this rock. “The Falcon 9 that will be used to launch this mission uses the same booster as NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1, marking the first time a flight-tested booster will be used for a crew launch, ”NASA said in a statement.
NASA will stream live the launch, which will take place at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA TV broadcast will begin at 10:30 pm PT Thursday / 1: 30 am ET Friday. The actual launch was targeted for 2:49 am PT / 5: 49 am ET Friday.
It will take about a day for the crew to arrive at the station, with docking scheduled for 2:10 am PT / 5: 10 am ET on Saturday.
NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough will join Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency and Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. All four have already been to space, urging Pesquet to tweet in March: “I have no plans to exhibit but this crew may have the most combined experience in the history of space lighting!”
SpaceX and NASA are moving into the business as usual phase of their Commercial Crew Program partnership. The early test flights went well and it didit went smoothly. Crew-2 marks the second crew rotation flight for Crew Dragon and the first with two international partner astronauts aboard the ship.
NASA is looking toward collapse for the launch of the Crew-3 mission, which could start as early as October 23. Crew-2 would look to return to Earth not long after.
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