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SpaceX tries for Crew-8 liftoff again Sunday night after Saturday weather woes

Richard Tribou, Orlando Sentinel on

Published in News & Features

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER — SpaceX is set to hit a milestone in human spaceflight as it aims to bring up another four passengers to the International Space Station, but has had to wait another day when weather forced a scrub on Saturday night.

The Crew-8 mission with three NASA astronauts and one Roscosmos cosmonaut will be riding in the Crew Dragon Endeavour when it launches atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39-A now targeting liftoff Sunday at 10:53 p.m. with a backup Monday at 10:31 p.m.

Weather chances are 75% for favorable conditions, according to an update Sunday from Space Launch Delta 45’s weather squadron.

“Current trends over the last hour appears to be more favorable,” said SpaceX mission control during its situational awareness brief with four hours before launch.

Space Launch Delta 45 had only given a Saturday night attempt a 40% chance for good conditions, and with less than four hours before the planned Saturday night launch with the astronauts suited up and about to walk out for their trip out to the launch pad, teams declared they were standing down from the attempt because of poor launch corridor conditions.

The ascent corridor is the path Crew Dragon takes, and weather has to be good up the eastern seaboard and over the Atlantic in the event the spacecraft would have to make an emergency landing, and the waves were just too high for the Saturday night attempt. NASA and SpaceX had already delayed the launch from March 1 because of bad weather on the ascent corridor.

 

NASA began airing live coverage about 4 1/2 hours ahead of launch showing the astronauts repeating their suit-up activities at the Neil Armstrong Operations & Checkout Building, where their families and NASA officials await to say goodbye before they climb into the fleet of black Teslas, with license plates that read “YAYSP8C,” that will take them to the launch pad. The Saturday scrub happened moments before the walkout.

The first-stage booster is flying for the first time and will attempt a recovery landing at nearby Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Landing Zone 1, which could mean one or more sonic booms might be heard in parts of Central Florida.

Once they launch, they will mark 50 humans flown to space among SpaceX’s four Crew Dragon spacecraft, with only one repeat flyer among the 50. Endeavour was the first to ferry passengers when it launched on the Demo-2 mission in May 2020 carrying up astronauts Bob Behken and Doug Hurley.

This marks its fifth flight.

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