green light for the launch at 21.22


Someone up there loves them, but only halfway because in the end the second day of waiting
of the launch of Crew Dragon of SpaceX has long split on the 50% chance that at 21.22 the Falcon 9 rocket to which astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are linked. Then, in less than 40 minutes, NASA gave green light to the filling of the tanks of the two stages of Falcon 9. Kerosene, methane and oxygen at low temperature pumped at very high pressure in the tanks: an operation that puts the chills and that explains the fear of bad weather, especially lightning.

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In short, the meteorological situation on Cape Canaveral in Florida is what it is: variable, but not too bad and therefore also the summit at 5 pm (Italian time) at the Kennedy Space Center confirmed the “go” despite the threatening presence of cumulonimbuses and lightning. The astronauts thus continued the dressing of the suits that were not at all clumsy and reached ramp 39-A aboard a – noblesse oblige – Tesla, another “brand” of the founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk. And at 19.20 the door of the white capsule was closed, the first real adrenaline rush.

Crew Dragon, sled launch on Saturday The postponement for a lightning storm
Astronaut Paolo Nespoli: «After Shuttle and Soyuz we go to space with the SpaceX Crew Dragon»

Much worse is the time on the Atlantic on the line of the eventual return to emergency of the capsule which after 9 years will allow the United States to dig up pride and send Americans into space aboard an American spaceship departed from American soil. Goodbye, in short, to the very expensive passes requested from 2011 to the Russians and their old Soyuz. And on with the first human commercial flight, a turning point in the history of space exploration.

NASA and the company of Elon Musk they decided to accept the risk and to proceed with the launch anyway, so much so that the president has arrived again Trump accompanied by the first lady Melania.

«We are moving forward with the launch. The weather conditions remain stuck on the 50% possibility of cancellation “, the chief administrator of NASA wrote in a tweet, Jim Bridenstine. 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.

If the weather conditions forced a postponement even today, you can try again at 9 pm 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 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.

Visible from Italy
At the end of the countdown do not stop counting: 20 minutes after the launch, second plus second minus, between 21.44 and 21.48, the Crew Dragon will fly over Italy, in short, Europe, from north-west to north -est and will be visible for almost a minute, visible even to the naked eye.

Last update: 20:58


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