SpaceX to launch first official crewed mission to space station

Katie Ramirez
November 15, 2020

One of the test pilots on SpaceX's first astronaut flight, Doug Hurley, said he's certain Musk will be involved with the launch - regardless of where he is. Was tested for covid four times today.

NASA chief Jim Bridenstine announced the delay on Twitter, where he cited "onshore winds and recovery operations" as the reason for the delay.

The Crew Dragon capsule, named "Resilience" by its crew, is due to launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 7:49 p.m. ET on Saturday from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida carrying three USA astronauts - Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker - and one from Japan, Soichi Noguchi.

Whether Musk came into contact with the astronauts was unclear, but unlikely since the crew has been in routine quarantine for weeks prior to their flight on Saturday. PCR tests have a higher degree of accuracy, but results can take a week or longer, while antigen tests require less than an hour.

"As part of the Commercial Crew Program, NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi will fly aboard Dragon on its first six-month operational mission to the ISS".

SpaceX's first crewed launch for NASA lifted off on May 30.

Norm Knight, a deputy manager at NASA, said the guidelines are rigid for restricting access to astronauts before flight in order to keep them safe and healthy. "Either bringing astronauts to the space station or bringing the resupplied cargo".

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The upcoming crew flight comes just three months after the end of the test flight with Hurley and Bob Behnken, both NASA astronauts. They will be replaced in the spring by yet another crew launched by SpaceX.

The latest launch was bumped a day in order to give SpaceX's booster-landing platform enough time to get into position in the Atlantic, given the rough seas in the wake of Tropical Storm Eta.

As the Associated Press reports, the launch has been pushed to Sunday not because of Musk's testing issues, but because of high wind and other weather conditions predicted for Saturday.

SpaceX's final test of its capsule came in August, after the company launched and returned the first astronauts from USA soil on a trip to the ISS in almost a decade.

The Dragon and SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket won NASA approval for regular crewed missions this week, making them the first vehicles the USA has certified to carry humans since the Space Shuttle, which was retired in 2011.

That Crew-2 mission, SpaceX's next astronaut flight for NASA, is now targeted for a March 30 launch, so ensuring its booster returns to Earth safely is key. The last ticket, used by a NASA astronaut launched from Kazakhstan in October, cost $90 million.

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