UPDATE: SpaceX can celebrate a historic launch. The company last night launched four astronauts from Cape Canaveral to the International Space Station as thousands of spectators looked on. It’s SpaceX’s first operational flight for NASA carrying astronauts. The mission is part of NASA’s Artemis program, which calls for sending astronauts to the moon in four years and one day to Mars. Docking with the ISS is expected around eleven o’clock tonight, Eastern time.
Also, the four astronauts who blasted off last night from Cape Canaveral brought a Baby Yoda doll on board with them. The doll from the Disney-Plus series The Mandalorian is the gravity indicator. That means when Baby Yoda floats in the air, the astronauts know they have reached zero gravity.
Officials with SpaceX will try again Sunday evening to get their first operational mission, and just their second manned flight, off the ground.
The company was forced to delay the launch, which was originally scheduled for Friday, due to bad weather.
They said at the time that high wind could pose obstacles with recovering and recycling the rocket booster.
According to Space.com, Sunday’s flight would represent SpaceX’s first operational mission with its Dragon crew capsule.
The astronauts are called “Crew-1,” while they have named their capsule, “Resilience.” That capsule will launch aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.
All systems are go for tonight’s launch at 7:27 p.m. EST of Crew Dragon’s first operational mission with four astronauts on board. Teams are keeping an eye on weather conditions for liftoff, which are currently 50% favorable → https://t.co/bJFjLCzWdK pic.twitter.com/GTpvVAiLkK
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 15, 2020
The launch would send four astronauts, including three Americans and one Japanese, from the Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station.
In addition, Sunday’s flight would come three months after NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken completed the first manned flight for SpaceX. They remain at the ISS for nearly three months.
“This is another historic moment — it seems like every time I come to Kennedy [Space Center] we’re making history, and this is no different,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said during a pre-launch news conference on Friday.
He went on to say, “The history being made this time is we’re launching what we call an operational flight to the International Space Station.”
This time around, the astronauts will stay at the space station for five to six months, at which time another SpaceX crew will replace them.
A report from WESH-TV says that Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence will attend the launch.
Resilience, carrying Crew-1, is scheduled to lift off at 7:27 p.m. EST on Sunday.