SpaceX Falcon 9 With Crew Dragon Greets The Dawn

Pablo Tucker
August 2, 2020

Thursday's launch of the manned Crew Dragon was scrubbed due to "unfavorable weather in the flight path", according to a SpaceX tweet.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon spacecraft are now set to fly with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken onboard, making a trip to the International Space Station, and both the agency and SpaceX announced today that they have officially passed the final flight readiness review, meaning everything is now a "go" for launch. The weather is only now looking acceptable by 40% for a launch on Wednesday.

One thing's for sure: It's all systems go for Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, the NASA astronauts who have trained for years to ride the Dragon. Tune in starting at 12:15 p.m. EDT as NASA and SpaceX provide joint, live coverage from launch to arrival at the space station.

SpaceX's older Cargo Dragon ship, Dragon 1, has successfully reached the ISS 20 times without astronauts on board, with the Falcon rockets having carried out more than 80 launches. This will mark the first time astronauts liftoff from Florida in nine years, and the first time they'll do so for a commercial company. Ever since NASA's Space Shuttle program ended in 2011, the USA has relied on Russia's Soyuz rockets to take astronauts into space.

Reports are circulating that President Donald Trump will attend Wednesday's launch, highlighting both the symbolic and practical importance of the Demo-2 mission. But while Trump might be in attendance, the general public will not; for the first time ever, NASA won't allow public access to the space centre, in a measure prompted by the covid-19 pandemic. NASA confirmed there were "no issues" with the Falcon 9 rocket or Crew Dragon spacecraft.

"SpaceX is controlling the vehicle, there's no fluff about that", Norm Knight, a NASA flight operations manager, said Monday.

If Wednesday's launch doesn't go ahead, it will be pushed back to Saturday.

"It certainly has been trending better over the last day or two for launch weather", said Mike McAleenan of the weather squadron. Hurley was the pilot of that mission. Once aboard the ISS, Behnken and Hurley will join NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner.

He also said he is excited that Japan will be the "first worldwide partner" in a Crew Dragon mission, while noting that further plans involving astronauts from other countries have not yet been determined.

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