NASA is set to launch the first Operational SpaceX Crew Dragon, an important milestone for the space program.
The launch, which was pushed back from Saturday due to weather, is scheduled for Sunday from launch complex 39A at 7:27 a.m. ET at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The six-month mission is the first crew rotation flight on an American commercial spacecraft.
The latest weather forecast is 50% favorable, NASA tweeted on Sunday morning.
SpaceX tweeted, “All systems will launch tonight at 7:27 pm, with four astronauts in crew’s first operational mission of Dragon’s EST.”
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The Crew-1 mission will take NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker and astronaut Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to the International Space Station in a crew dragon vehicle. It follows a successful demo-2 mission earlier this year.
Vice President Mike Pence and another woman Karen Pence will attend the Crew-1 launch.
The launch was initially slated for 31 October, but was pushed back on 14 November, when two engines were replaced due to contamination from the red lacquer used in the processing of the Falcon rocket.
Astronauts have named their Dragon Capsule Resilience all the challenges of 2020: coronavirus and social segregation, protests against racial injustice, and a particularly difficult election and campaign season. They have been in quarantine for a week or two and are taking safety precautions – before masks and social distance.
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At the orbiting space laboratory, the Crew-1 team will join NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, who is already on the space station, conducting extensive scientific research. “Not only do crew-1 astronauts and fellow expedition 64 NASA astronaut Kate Rubins perform hundreds of microgravity studies during their mission, they also distribute new science hardware and experiments conducted with them inside crew Drew,” NASA Told in a statement.
Astronauts will investigate food physiology, conduct a student-designed experiment on genes in space and develop radishes, as well as examine interactions between microbes and microbes in microorganisms.
Other experiments include using thumb-shaped devices involving human cells to study the effect of space on human cells, and a study on changes in cardiovascular cells and tissues in microgravity. Experiments will also be conducted on NASA’s next-generation spacesuit, the Exploration Extraordinary Mobility Unit (xEMU).
The mission marks another significant milestone for America’s space program following the Demo-2 flight earlier this year.
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On August 2, NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Bacon dropped into the Gulf of Mexico aboard the SpaceX Drew spacecraft in a SpaceX cruise, ending their two-month journey into space.
The mission marked the first time astronauts have launched since the last space shuttle flight from US Earth in 2011. Amid an explosion of propaganda, the Demo-2 mission lifted off a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center on May 30.
After the end of the space shuttle program, the US relied on Russian Soyuz rockets launched from Kazakhstan’s Baconur Cosmodrome to bring astronauts into space. Russia charges the US about $ 75 million to send an astronaut into space, and the Associated Press reports that the last Soyuz ticket costs $ 90 million in the US.
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Fox News’ Chris Siaccia, Kristin Fisher, Lauren Blanchard, David Clarke, Erin McEwan and The Associated Press contributed to this article.