SpaceX And NASA Try Once More To Launch Astronauts
Elon Musk cannot control the weather. Yet.
After storms and a tornado warning upended a launch attempt on Wednesday, the billionaire’s commercial spaceflight company, SpaceX, is once again braving Florida’s wild weather to launch astronauts into orbit.
Such a launch, if successful, would mark the first time NASA has sent astronauts into space from U.S. soil since the end of the shuttle program in 2011. It would also be a first for SpaceX, which has ambitions of someday taking paying customers zooming around the Earth.
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NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken are scheduled to lift off from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center at 3:22 p.m. ET.
They will travel to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX’s Dragon capsule. The bell-shaped capsule resembles the spacecraft of the Apollo-era, but its sleek interior sports oversized touchscreen controls. The capsule will be carried to orbit atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket, which has been used successfully dozens of times to put satellites and space-station cargo into orbit.
The launch is important to NASA, which has depended on Russian Soyuz rockets to get its astronauts into space for nearly a decade. The success of a SpaceX flight would return astronaut launches to American soil, while ostensibly freeing up the agency’s own resources to conduct exploration beyond Earth’s orbit.