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SpaceX Crew-8 scrubs liftoff because of weather, will try again Sunday night

Richard Tribou, Orlando Sentinel on

Published in Science & Technology News

ORLANDO, Fla. — 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 will have to wait another day as 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.

Space Launch Delta 45’s weather squadron 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 bad weather on the launch corridor. Weather chances improve to 75% for Sunday.

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. NASA and SpaceX had already delayed the launch from Friday because of bad weather on the ascent corridor.

The astronauts will now have to take off their spacesuits at the Neil Armstrong Operations & Checkout Building and do it all over again Sunday. Their families were awaiting their walkout along with NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and other NASA officials alongside the fleet of black Teslas, with a license plate that reads “YAYSP8C.”

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.

“It’s our fleet leader,” said NASA Commercial Crew Program manager Steve Stich. “So we’ve taken a lot of extra time … to go through all of the systems and in particular the prompt system is to make sure we’re really ready to go fly.”

Flying up for NASA are commander Matthew Dominick, pilot Michael Barratt and mission specialist Jeanette Epps along with Russia’s mission specialist Alexander Grebenkin. They are set to join Expedition 70 on board the ISS docking on Sunday afternoon for about a six-month stay during which they will work on more than 200 science and technology experiments.

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