NASA, SpaceX set to launch replacement crew for ISS
New Delhi : The latest set of astronauts, three from NASA and a German crewmate, was ready for the takeoff to the International Space Station despite rains and clouds on the launch site in Florida. Forecasters predicted that the clouds will clear in some time and the site will be cleared for the launch which has already been delayed several times.
The SpaceX-built launch vehicle, consisting of a Crew Dragon capsule perched atop a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket, was set for liftoff at 9:03 p.m. (0200 GMT Thursday) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
If the launch goes as per plan then the four astronauts will reach the space station about 22 hours later and dock with the space station 250 miles (400 km) above the Earth to begin a six-month science mission aboard the orbiting laboratory.
Intermittent showers and heavy clouds over the Cape on Wednesday cast renewed doubt on prospects for the launch proceeding as planned, although NASA said its latest forecasts called for a 70% chance of favorable weather conditions for liftoff.
The original launch of the rocket was planned for October 31, but amid unfavourable conditions it was delayed multiple times.
Wednesday's liftoff, if successful, would count as the fifth human spaceflight SpaceX has achieved to date, following its "Inspiration 4" launch in September that sent an all-civilian crew to orbit for the first time.