With a vision of tropical storm Eta approaching South Florida, four astronauts plan to launch next Saturday aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Sunday after flying from base. their home in Houston.
Commander Mike Hopkins, pilot Victor Glover, mission specialists Shannon Walker and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi flew to Kennedy from the Ellington Field near Johnson Space Center in Houston. Their NASA-leased jet landed at Kennedy’s Landing and Launch Facility just before 2 p.m. EST (1900 GMT) on Sunday.
Hopkins and his crew members – currently on quarantine to avoid exposure to diseases like COVID-19 – have completed most of the training and will spend the next few days reviewing flight plans and try-on pressure suits made by SpaceX. The crew will board the Crew Dragon spacecraft – dubbed “Resilience” – on launchers 39A Wednesday during a pre-flight dress rehearsal.
“We flew an airplane in here, but the plan was for us to put a rocket on top, so it’s pretty neat. That’s pretty cool, ”said Glover, a US Navy commander preparing to make the first voyage into orbit. “Go to Falcon, go Dragon, and go Resilience.”
“Good afternoon Florida. Hi America. It feels really good to be here, ”Hopkins said. “We are ready… We are starting this new era where we will rotate crews to the International Space Station from the US with our commercial partners such as SpaceX. So we’re delighted to be a part of that. ”
The Crew-1 mission is set to launch at 7:49 pm Saturday EST (0049 GMT Sunday) from platform 39A will mark the first conventional space station crew roundabout flight with the spacecraft. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon pillar, after a two-month test flight earlier this year marks the first astronaut launch into orbit from US soil since the shuttle retired in 2011.
Long-term crew members heading to the space station have exclusively launched Russian Soyuz capsules for almost a decade.
NASA has partnered with SpaceX and Boeing to develop new human-ranked spacecraft to bring crews to and from the International Space Station.
While SpaceX is set to begin its first crew rotation flight next weekend, Boeing continues to correct software problems encountered in its Starliner ship’s unmanned flight test last year. . Another Starliner flight test without an astronaut could take off in January, followed by a demonstration mission with a three-man crew later next year.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said: “Today, we are taking another leap in this transformation in the way we do human flight. “What we are talking about here is space commercialization, where NASA is a client of many customers in a very strong commercial market in low-Earth orbit.
“What we are doing is we are transitioning from a test flight to operational flights,” Bridenstine said on Sunday. “Make no mistake, every flight is a test flight when it comes to space travel, but it is also true that we need to be able to get to the International Space Station regularly.”
Assuming the Crew Dragon explodes on a scheduled Saturday night, Crew-1’s astronauts will link up with the space station at about 8 and a half hours later at 4:20 am EST (0920 GMT) on Sunday.
However, strong winds and rains from Tropical Storm Eta may continue preparing to launch onto Florida’s Space Coast this week. The tropical storm is forecast to travel through the Florida Keys from Sunday night to Monday, then pass through the Gulf of Southeastern Mexico before potentially moving towards Florida’s west coast later this week.
The Crew-1 astronauts, Hopkins said, will follow the weather forecast “very closely” this week.
“Obviously, it has the potential to have an impact,” Hopkins said.
Heavy winds from the outer bands of Tropical Storm Eta forced the United Launch Alliance to move an Atlas 5 rocket back to its hangar at Cape Canaveral on Friday, delaying the launch of its assigned spy satellite. type of US government no earlier than Wednesday.
SpaceX also delayed the deployment of the Falcon 9 missile and Crew Dragon capsule to platform 39A until Monday, which pushed back the test firing of the missile’s nine Merlin 1D main engines on the launch pad from Monday night until Tuesday night.
“We’ll adapt, we’ll adjust, and we’ll be ready to go when the weather is ready,” Hopkins said.
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