SpaceX has confirmed it’s all systems go for Wednesday afternoon’s groundbreaking Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station (ISS), though unsettled weather at the launch site in Florida could pose a problem.
The highly anticipated launch will mark the first time astronauts will travel in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, with Elon Musk’s space company already having perfected missions to and from the ISS using its Falcon 9 rocket and the cargo-only Dragon spacecraft.
It will also be the first astronaut launch from American soil since the scrapping of the Space Shuttle program in 2011.
SpaceX tweeted a message on Monday night saying that “all systems are looking good for Crew Dragon’s first flight with astronauts.”
It also tweeted a teaser video noting how its rocket and spacecraft will be launching from a very special spot at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. …
NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will be traveling aboard the Crew Dragon for the trip to the ISS. The pair completed a launch rehearsal over the weekend, which included climbing into their spacesuits, riding a Tesla Model X from the Space Center’s Operations and Checkout Building to the launchpad, and taking their place inside the Crew Dragon atop the Falcon 9 rocket.
Wednesday’s mission will be the final major test for SpaceX’s human spaceflight system for certification by NASA for operational crew missions between Earth and the space station.
The launch will also be a significant step for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, which is tapping the talent of U.S. firms for a new generation of spacecraft and launch systems capable of carrying crews to low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station. NASA is also planning an astronaut mission to the moon in 2024, and after that a crewed mission to Mars.
Now all we need is for the weather to hold. Heavy rain fell in the area on Monday, though the forecast is improving for launch day.
Want to watch the launch as it happens? Check out this page for everything you need to know.
- Watch SpaceX ready its rocket and astronaut spacecraft for launch
- Next stop for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon? The top of a Falcon 9 rocket
- Check out the SpaceX Crew Dragon looking majestic on the launchpad
- Crew Dragon astronauts welcomed aboard the International Space Station
- NASA’s space shuttle to SpaceX’s Crew Dragon: Crewed spaceflight’s history