Countdown to dress rehearsals sets the stage for the launch of SpaceX Crew Dragon

Countdown to dress rehearsals sets the stage for the launch of SpaceX Crew Dragon

four Astronauts take off At the end of this week on board a SpaceX Crew Dragon A spacecraft mounted on top of a Falcon 9 rocket at the Kennedy Space Center on Thursday for a training countdown as engineers review preparations and monitor the weather offshore in the wake of Tropical Storm State.

Crew -1 Commander Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japanese astronaut Soishi Noguchi, all dressed in futuristic SpaceX compression suits, were propelled to launch the 39A platform at the Kennedy Space Center in a white Tesla SUV, just as it would be on Saturday, if weather permits the 7 o’clock launch : 49pm EST.

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Crew 1 astronauts arrive at a Tesla SUV to conduct a countdown exercise at the Kennedy Space Center on Thursday, November 12, 2020. They are scheduled to launch on Saturday, November 14.

NASA / Joel Koski


With astronauts tethering together, monitoring high-tech touchscreens in the Crew Dragon capsule they dubbed “Flexibility” SpaceX The launch controllers monitored the training countdown from Firing Room 4 at NASA’s Launch Control Center three miles from the board.

The next major milestone will come on Friday when NASA and SpaceX managers and engineers, following strict coronavirus protocols, hold a formal launch readiness review to conduct a final assessment of the team’s flight readiness.

Meteorologists expect there will be a 70% chance of acceptable weather Saturday night at the Kennedy Space Center. But the forecast is less certain when it comes to winds and offshore states in the Atlantic Ocean along the northeast path that the Falcon 9 would follow to propel the Crew Dragon into orbit the space station.

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The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket stands ready for launch on a mission to send four astronauts to the International Space Station. Scheduled to take off on Saturday 14 November 2020.

SpaceX


The relatively calm seas are needed to recover the first stage of the Falcon 9, which the company plans to reuse on its next Crew Dragon expedition six months from now. Generally, benign conditions are required along the entire flight path in the event of a malfunction that might force the crew to make an emergency drop.

“It is clear that we are looking at the weather. The weather is a big problem, and the weather in multiple regions.” Cathy Loaders, Head of NASA’s Space Exploration Division, for Spaceflight Now Friday. “The drone that we need where the first stage is going to land is actually heading today. And with the way the seas are going, the way the ETA is, we’re kind of watching how fast that drone gets off.”

If the drone ship is not at the station in time, the launch is likely to be delayed.

“The landing weather for the first stage is important,” said Lauders. “It’s the stage we’ll be using for Crew-2, so we care about it. Not that we never really care about them, but this is an important stage.”

After crossing Florida on Wednesday, Tropical Storm Eta was expected to follow the East Coast parallel route to North Carolina and then out into the Atlantic Ocean. By Saturday morning, the center of the storm should be far from the sea east of Boston.

SpaceX monitors data from about 50 buoys along the track that measures wind and wave heights, data that will be analyzed before a final decision is made to proceed with the launch.

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From left to right: NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi are scheduled to launch on Saturday November 14, 2020 aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon to the International Space Station.

NASA / Joel Koski


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