SpaceX’s first historic crewed mission to the International Space Station was scheduled to take place on Saturday, NASA said, although uncertainty remains about the weather.
“We are moving forward with the launch today,” said NASA chief Jim Bridenstine in a tweet. “Weather challenges remain with a 50% probability of cancellation.”
“Proceed to the countdown today,” said SpaceX founder Elon Musk.
Weather conditions forced the postponement on Wednesday of what would have been the first launch of American astronauts from American soil in nearly a decade, and the first crew launch ever carried out by a commercial company.
The Falcon 9 rocket will launch with SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule at 3:22 p.m. EST (1922 GMT) on Saturday.
The next window, which is determined by the relative positions of the launch site relative to the space station, is Sunday at 3:00 p.m. (7:00 p.m. GMT), and good weather is forecast.
NASA astronauts Bob Behnken, 49, and Douglas Hurley, 53, former military test pilots who joined the space agency in 2000, are scheduled to take off for the ISS from the historic launch pad 39A on a two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The same launch pad was used by Neil Armstrong and his Apollo 11 teammates on their historic trip to the Moon in 1969, as NASA seeks to rekindle the excitement around exploring human space before a planned return to Earth’s satellite and then to Mars.
The mission intervenes despite the stops caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the crew having been in quarantine for more than two weeks.
NASA urged crowds to stay away from Cocoa Beach, the traditional viewing spot – but that did not deter many space fans on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump, who flew for the previous launch attempt, is expected to attend again.
(With the exception of the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)