NASA, SpaceX targeting 1 Oct 5 to launch Crew-5 astronauts after Ian delays

NASA, SpaceX targeting 1 Oct 5 to launch Crew-5 astronauts after Ian delays
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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – Operations at the Florida spaceport are returning to normal after Hurricane Ian’s uproar across the state.

NASA and SpaceX are now targeting Wednesday, October 1. 5, to launch a crew of American, Japanese, and Russian astronauts to the International Space Station.

If the current schedule holds, the Crew-5 mission will launch on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A at noon EDT. Backup release dates are available on October 1. 7 and possibly Oct. 6-9, pending review.

NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina have been at the Johnson Space Center in Houston for the past few weeks before traveling to Florida for liftoff. with SpaceX.

The astronauts arrived at KSC on Saturday and completed a wet dress rehearsal of the launch countdown on Sunday.

For the first time since SpaceX began sending NASA astronauts from US soil in 2020, the Russian Space Agency and NASA have swapped a seat aboard the commercial spacecraft. Kikina will be the first cosmonaut to fly with SpaceX.

The Crew-5 astronaut launch has changed several times before the latest delay. caused by Hurricane Ianthat made landfall in southwest Florida on Wednesday, leaving a wide path of death and destruction in its wake.

“Mission teams continue to monitor Ian’s impacts to the Space Coast and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and may adjust the launch date again as needed,” NASA wrote in a blog post. “As of 6:00 pm on Wednesday, September 28, the Kennedy Space Center declared HURCON I status with the departure team sheltered in their designated locations until the storm passes.”

Before the storm, the space center was closed and moved its Artemis-1 SLS lunar rocket back to the Vehicle Assembly Building. NASA had aimed to launch the SLS lunar rocket before the end of September, but now it will have to wait until November.

Crew-5’s original September launch date was pushed back after the Falcon 9 booster for the mission was damaged during transport to KSC.

This launch will mark the fifth operational mission of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program in which the space agency pays SpaceX and, starting next year, Boeing to transport astronauts to and from the ISS.

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