Elon Musk’s private rocket company SpaceX will aim to go ahead with its failed attempt to send two astronauts into orbit today, which was delayed on Wednesday due to poor weather. The launch will see NASA astronauts launch into orbit from US soil for the first time in nine years.
The mission’s original launch attempt on Wednesday, May 27 at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral was called off with just 17 minutes to go due to stormy weather.
But today astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will again step inside the SpaceX Falcon 9 to be launched on a 19-hour ride to the International Space Station.
The pair will be launched into orbit inside the Crew Dragon capsule, making its first flight into orbit with humans aboard.
The launch pad is the same one used by NASA’s final space shuttle flight, piloted by Hurley, in 2011.
NASA-SpaceX launch: Astronauts speak out following postponement
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will take off from launchpad 39A at the Kennedy Space Centre.
The rocket will carry the Crew Dragon spacecraft, where astronauts Hurley, 53, and Behnken, 49, will be strapped in.
After two minutes, the rocket will separate into the first stage and second stage.
The first stage will see SpaceX’s landing ship return to Earth in the Atlantic Ocean off Florida’s coast.
The second stage will carry on with the Crew Dragon, but once it is in orbit it will separate from the second stage and travel towards the space station.
Weather forecasts for Saturday are touch and go again, meaning the launch the evening is at risk of being cancelled.
If the mission is forced to be delayed again, the next launch window would be Sunday afternoon.
Forecasts are currently appearing somewhat more favourable for Sunday.
But NASA astronaut Nicole Mann said her colleagues are unflustered by the potential for further delay.
She said: “There are plenty of things in life you can’t control, the weather being one of them.
“You need just to remain flexible, not to waste any energy on those things you can’t control. And then do what you need to do: prepare, and then when it’s time for the next launch opportunity, you know you’re ready to go.”