SpaceX, NASA closely monitoring weather prior to historic astronaut launchby James Rogers
SpaceX and NASA are closely monitoring the weather ahead of the historic launch of the Demo-2 mission, which is scheduled for 4:33 p.m. EDT Wednesday.
NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are scheduled to launch from Kennedy Space Center’s launch pad 39A, which was also used for the Apollo and space shuttle programs.
The launch will be the first time a private company, rather than a national government, sends astronauts into orbit. It will also be the first time that astronauts launch from U.S. soil since the final space shuttle mission in 2011.
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“Targeting 4:33 p.m. EDT today for Falcon 9’s launch of Crew Dragon with @NASA astronauts on board. Teams are closely monitoring launch and downrange weather,” tweeted SpaceX early on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the weather forecast for the launch was 60 percent favorable, up from the prior forecast of 40 percent favorable.
SpaceX and NASA are also closely monitoring Atlantic weather conditions. In addition to good weather at the launch site, relatively calm waves and wind up the U.S. and Canadian seaboard and across the North Atlantic to Ireland are also needed, in case astronauts Hurley and Behnken need to make an emergency splashdown along the route to orbit.
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“Atlantic weather review tomorrow morning will determine if we can launch,” explained SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in a tweet late Tuesday.
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If SpaceX does not launch Wednesday, the next try would be on Saturday.
The Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers