NASA had been hoping to launch SpaceX’s Crew-5 astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday, October 4, but the arrival of Hurricane Ian in Florida disrupted mission preparations at the Kennedy Space Center to such an extent that NASA pushed the launch to the following day.
Key to SpaceX’s workhorse Falcon 9 rocket getting away on time is the weather. Hurricane Ian may have gone, but Florida’s Space Coast is no stranger to lighter storms and other troublesome weather conditions that could prompt mission controllers to hit pause on the countdown clock.
So how is the forecast looking for noon on Wednesday, when NASA and SpaceX are hoping to send the Crew-5 astronauts skyward?
According to the 45th Weather Squadron, which provides detailed assessments for air and space operations in the U.S., conditions for launch are looking favorable, with only a 10% chance of violating weather constraints occurring.
The squadron’s Crew-5 mission report said that although a weak cold front will move through the area of the launch site and spark scattered showers late on Tuesday, it should have moved well south by Wednesday.
“On launch day, the high will be centered over the southeastern U.S., bringing breezy northeasterly winds,” the squadron said. “While a few small, short-lived coastal showers cannot be ruled out with the onshore flow, very dry air in the mid and upper levels will cap off any significant activity.”
It said it will monitor potentially troublesome cumulus clouds and precipitation, but gave a 90% chance of favorable weather conditions prevailing at noon on Wednesday when the SpaceX’s rocket and crew are due to blast off.
SpaceX’s Crew-5 includes NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, Koichi Wakata of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and Anna Kikina of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency.
They’ll stay aboard the orbital outpost 250 miles above Earth for around six months, working on a wide range of science experiments in microgravity conditions while also carrying out any necessary spacewalks for maintenance and upgrade work on the ISS.
A livestream of the build-up to launch and the launch itself will include footage of the crews, the lift-off, views from the rocket and inside the Crew Dragon capsule, and video of the first-stage rocket booster returning to Earth.
If you’re interested in watching the livestream, Digital Trends has all the details.
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