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SpaceX’s Crew-2 astronaut launch delayed by 24 hours

The launch of SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station has been delayed by 24 hours due to unfavorable weather conditions along the flight path.

The Falcon 9 rocket carrying four astronauts inside the Crew Dragon spacecraft was originally scheduled to launch on Thursday morning at 6:11 a.m. ET (3:11 a.m. PT) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. But SpaceX is now targeting 5:49 a.m. ET on Friday, April 23.

Launch Update ???? @NASA and @SpaceX now are targeting Friday, April 23 at 5:49 a.m. ET for the launch of the Crew-2 mission to the @Space_Station due to unfavorable weather conditions along the flight path on Thursday.

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— NASA Commercial Crew (@Commercial_Crew) April 21, 2021

“Although conditions around the launch site were expected to be favorable for lift-off, mission teams also must consider conditions along the flight path and recovery area in the unlikely event of a launch escape,” NASA said in a message on its website.

The U.S. Space Force 45th Weather Squadron is currently predicting a “90% chance of favorable weather conditions” at the launch pad based on Falcon 9 Crew Dragon launch weather criteria.

“Conditions also are expected to improve along the flight path and recovery area for the mission,” NASA said, adding that the primary weather concerns for the launch area will be lift-off winds.

The Crew-2 members include NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet. Earlier this week, the crew members answered a series of fun quick-fire questions to help space fans get to know them better.

When they reach the space station, the Crew-2 astronauts will become part of ISS Expedition 65 until their return to Earth in six months’ time.

This will be SpaceX’s third crewed launch after the first one in May 2020 that transported NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the orbiting outpost in the successful Demo-2 mission. During their journey, Behnken gave a short video tour from inside the new, reusable spacecraft. Following the mission, the pair also described the dramatic journey back to Earth inside the capsule. The Demo-2 mission marked NASA’s first crewed launch and landing in U.S. territory since the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011.

The second Crew Dragon mission — Crew-1 — launched in November last year, with the four astronauts on that flight set to return from the ISS at the end of this month.

Interested in watching this week’s rocket launch as it happens? Digital Trends has all the information you need.

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Trevor Mogg
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