SpaceX readies to launch international astronaut crew to space station on Friday

SpaceX and NASA plan to launch an astronaut crew to the International Space Station early Friday morning from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida

For the first time, astronauts from all of NASA’s international partners will launch with SpaceX to the International Space Station, including astronauts from Europe, Japan and Russia. Previous commercial crew missions have included at least two NASA astronauts. 

NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa and Roscomos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov are scheduled to launch on Friday at 3:49 a.m. ET from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 


The Crew-7 mission will mark the seventh part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and the eighth NASA astronaut launch overall for SpaceX since 2020. Elon Musk’s company also launched two crewed flights to the ISS for Axiom Space and another Earth-orbiting spaceflight for the Inspiration4 mission. 


NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, right, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov, wearing SpaceX spacesuits, are seen as th

The astronauts completed a full dress rehearsal of the countdown overnight on Tuesday, and SpaceX ran a static fire test of the Falcon 9's Merlin engines on launchpad 39A later in the day. 

NASA plans to begin the countdown Thursday night. The astronauts begin the journey to the historic launchpad 39A in Teslas and climb into the Crew Dragon spacecraft atop the Falcon 9 rocket.

Launch weather officers with the Space Force's 45th Weather Squadron forecast an 85% chance of favorable liftoff conditions for the instantaneous launch window. Cumulus cloud cover is the primary concern, given the potential for rain over the Atlantic on Thursday.

"The best chance for showers and storms will be Wednesday, as the high moving offshore pushes a front down the east coast, and an upper-level disturbance retrogrades southwest across the state," Launch weather officers wrote. "This will likely bring an east-northeast wind surge along with a modest increase in moisture and better, though still below normal, chances for Atlantic showers into Thursday."


If the launch scrubs to the weekend, the chances of overnight showers decrease, improving launch forecasts on Saturday and Sunday to 90% favorable. 

If the launch goes Friday, the astronauts will dock at the International Space Station after 2 a.m. on Saturday. The crew will spend about six months working and conducting research on the ISS. There will be 11 astronauts on the space station for a few days before the Crew-6 mission departs for Earth. Dragon Endeavor is set to undock with the four Crew-6 astronauts no earlier than Sept. 1. 

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