“We are moving forward with the launch. Weather conditions remain stuck on the 50% chance of cancellation,” NASA chief administrator Jim Bridenstine wrote in a tweet. Elon Musk has relaunched the tweet in which SpaceX says that the capsule has passed all the tests and that everyone is now keeping an eye on the weather conditions, which are scheduled to update at 5.00 pm Italian time.
In the event that the weather conditions forced a postponement even today, you can try again at 21.00 tomorrow, Sunday 31 May. At the moment it is possible to foresee a launch opportunity every day, with an advance of 22-23 minutes each time. The timing is dictated by the rotation speed of the Earth, on which the relative position of the launch platform with respect to the Space Station, to which the Crew Dragon is directed, depends.
The Falcon 9 rocket and the Crew Dragon capsule are ready on the historic platform 39 / A in the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral (Florida), the same from which the Apollo missions for the Moon and then the Space Shuttles that allowed to build the Space station.
On board will be NASA veterans Doug Hurley (54 years old) and Bob Behnken (50). Their mission, called Demo2, is the second test of the Crew Dragon capsule, which in March 2019 had made the first unmanned test flight directed to the Space Station.
AstroDoug and AstroBehnken will now have to prove conclusively that Elon Musk’s shuttle is capable of bringing men into orbit and restoring the ability to bring men to the United States in the space they no longer had since the Shuttle left the scene in 2011. It will also the official start of private flights with men on board.
Trump will attend the launch
Despite the incognita weather for the second time, Donald Trump and the first lady Melania will fly today to Cape Canaveral to attend the historic launch of the Crew Dragon shuttle, the first after nine years to bring a crew back to space from American soil. After the launch, at 11pm, a speech by the president is scheduled, informs the White House.
From the Space Station a photo of the launch pad
Kennedy Space Center launch pad 39 / A photographed from the Space Station (source: Ivan Vagner, Roscosmos)
The photo of the launch pad 39 / A of the Kennedy Space Center from which the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule is preparing to leave was taken by the Space Station and posted on Twitter by the Russian Ivan Vagner, who is part of the crew with his colleague Anatoli Ivanishin and American Chris Cassidy.
“We are waiting for you,” wrote Vagner to Crew Dragon colleagues Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. “Yesterday we flew over Cape Canaveral and I captured the photo of the legendary launch pad 39 / A. Now – wrote Vagner – the world’s first manned commercial vehicle is ready for launch”.
The astronauts arrived at the launch pad
Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken arrived at the launch pad (source: NASA TV)
Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken have arrived at the launch pad aboard the white Tesla with the NASA logo. Elon Musk’s car replaced the traditional silver-colored van that had accompanied generations of astronauts so far.
Before taking the elevator to reach the capsule and going through the last operations before the launch, they have, as usual, a few minutes for a rest at the toilet. The staff in charge of the last checks accompany them, wearing black overalls with a white number on the back, these too probably inspired by the world of superheroes, such as the suits of Hurley and Behnken, designed by the costume designer Jose Fernandez.
Gastronauts in the capsule, closed the hatch
The astronauts Hurley and Behnken are both inside the Crew Dragon capsule, in the correct position to face the flight. The checks have been completed and everything seems to be proceeding as planned. Test personnel left the capsule and closed the hatch.