Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

World

Astronauts arrive at pad for SpaceX flight on used rocket

Four astronauts arrived at their launch pad early Friday morning for a SpaceX flight to the International Space Station, the company’s third bon voyage for a NASA crew in under a year.

The two Americans, one French and one Japanese astronaut climbed into white gull-winged Teslas for the ride to their rocket, all courtesy of Elon Musk’s companies. Musk met with the astronauts before they headed to the pad, wishing them well from a safe social distance.

SpaceX aimed for a split-second liftoff at 5:49 a.m., an hour before sunrise. Good weather was forecast, not only at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center but all the way up the East Coast in the event of a launch abort and emergency splashdown. Poor offshore weather prompted SpaceX to skip Thursday’s attempt.

For the first time, SpaceX was using a recycled Falcon rocket and Dragon capsule for a crew launch. The capsule soared on the company’s first astronaut launch last May, and the rocket hoisted the second crew in November.

Spacecraft commander Shane Kimbrough and his crew will replace that second set of astronauts, who will return to Earth next Wednesday in their own SpaceX capsule.

Joining Kimbrough for a six-month space station mission: NASA’s Megan McArthur, France’s Thomas Pesquet and Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide. All have flown in space before.

McArthur had the same seat in the same capsule as her husband, Bob Behnken, did for SpaceX’s debut crew flight. This time, he was the one huddling outside the Teslas with their 7-year-old son, saying goodbye. McArthur blew kisses and offered virtual hugs from a safe social distance.

The other astronauts’ spouses and children also gathered alongside the Teslas for photos and “love you’s,” as Musk and NASA’s acting administrator, Steve Jurzcyk, watched from afar. The crowd was kept to a minimum because of the pandemic.

SpaceX picked up the station slack for NASA after the agency’s shuttles retired in 2011. SpaceX began supply runs the following year.

Boeing, NASA’s other designated taxi service, isn’t expect to launch astronauts until early next year.

Next articles

NASA chooses SpaceX to take humans back to moon

Russia says ready to launch own space station after quitting ISS

American and two Russians return to Earth from space station

 

 

You May Also Like

World

Sitting by herself at the funeral of Prince Philip on Saturday, Queen Elizabeth cut a regal, but solitary figure: still the monarch, but now...

World

Germany’s vaccine commission, known as STIKO, recommended on Thursday that people under 60-years old who have had a first shot of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine...

World

Activists opposed to Myanmar’s junta called on Monday for people to stop paying electricity bills and agricultural loans, and keep their children away from...

Energy

United Arab Emirates power producer Abu Dhabi National Energy Co. (TAQA) announced on Wednesday plans to increase its renewable energyassets, in a shift away...

Advertisement

error: