Nasa SpaceX launch: Astronaut crew primed for ‘routine’ flight

By Jonathan Amos
BBC Science Correspondent

Publishedduration1 hour agoRelated Topics

  • SpaceX launch

image copyrightNASAimage captionWeather conditions need to be acceptable all along the flight path to orbit

Nasa and its private launch services provider SpaceX are getting ready to send four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

The crew will ride to orbit in a Dragon capsule atop a Falcon-9 rocket.

It will be only the second time that this launch system has been used to transport people.

It follows a successful demo flight conducted back in May, which marked the resumption of astronaut missions from US soil after a gap of nine years.

The Falcon-Dragon combo is due to depart the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 19:27 local time (00:27 GMT, Monday).

It's an "instantaneous launch window", meaning the mission must leave on the button if it wants to catch the station as it circles the Earth overhead.

Much depends on the weather, of course. Unacceptable winds on the space coast have already forced one 24-hour delay.

Should there be a further postponement for any reason, the next attempt would be made on Wednesday.

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The crew comprises three US space agency (Nasa) astronauts – Commander Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker – and the highly experienced Japanese space agency (Jaxa) astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

They've named their Dragon ship "Resilience".

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