NASA and SpaceX are about to send another four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), but calm and stable weather conditions are needed if the rocket is to launch at the scheduled time.
Two days before lift-off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the forecast is looking good, according to the U.S. Space Force 45th Weather Squadron, which keeps NASA abreast of such data.
The crack team of weather watchers said that according to the expected conditions, there’s an 80% chance that SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will be able to launch on time at 2:21 a.m. ET on Sunday morning.
Currently, rainy conditions are pushing across Florida’s Space Coast, but the squadron said that as the front begins to move away, “drier conditions will filter in, leading to favorable launch conditions for the initial launch opportunity.”
The weather along the flight path also has to be stable at launch, and there are currently no reports of any concerns. This is important because should the rocket suffer a serious anomaly during the early stages of flight, the astronauts will have to abort from the rocket for a parachute-assisted landing inside the Crew Dragon spacecraft, with rough weather conditions possibly jeopardizing a safe water landing or recovery effort.
Finally, conditions off the Florida coast need to be calm, too, so that SpaceX’s waiting drone ship can catch the first-stage Falcon 9 booster when it returns to Earth shortly after launch.
If Sunday’s launch is called off for weather- or technical-related reasons, the next launch window opens early on Wednesday, November 1.
On Thursday night, the Crew-3 astronauts — NASA’s Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, plus Matthias Maurer from the European Space Agency — took part in countdown rehearsal as part of preparations for Sunday’s rocket ride. Chari, Barron, and Maurer are heading to space for the first time, with Marshburn taking his third flight.
Interested in watching SpaceX’s rocket light up the night sky early on Sunday? Digital Trends has all the information you need to watch NASA’s livestream.
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