Sunday, 17 January, 2021


4 astronauts set to launch for ISS in historic NASA-SpaceX mission

Astronauts from left Victor Glover Michael Hopkins Shannon Walker and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi wave to family members as they leave the Operations and Checkout Building for a trip to Launch Pad 39-A and planned lift SpaceX's Crew-1 mission to launch four astronauts to the ISS on Monday, 5.57 am IST: How to watch it live
Kristine Garrett | 16 November, 2020, 03:27

In 2013, as part of his stay at the International Space Station, he logged almost 13 hours of spacewalks.

Currently, the chances for liftoff tonight are "50/50" per the Launch Mission Execution Forecast, with primary concerns consisting of, "Cumulus cloud rule, flight through precipitation, and Surface Electric Field Rule".

Mission preparations were under way Sunday afternoon as NASA officials pegged launch probability at 50%, maintaining plans to launch but monitoring wind and cloud formation near the rocket pad that could postpone the mission to Wednesday. A White House statement said the Pences would travel to Florida Sunday and return to Washington in the evening.

The Falcon 9 rocket will be used on the launch and it will take place from the Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

An air leak caused an unexpected drop in capsule pressure less than two hours before launch, NASA officials said.

The weather and waters there need to be fairly calm in case something goes wrong during the ascent to orbit and the Crew Dragon needs to make an emergency splashdown (adverse weather conditions led to a postponement of the earlier Saturday launch date).

The SpaceX "Resilience" Crew Dragon manned mission is taking four astronauts for a six-month stay on the ISS, after the SpaceX Demo-2 mission took NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS in May this year.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Crew-1 mission Sunday Nov. 15 2020 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral Florida

SpaceX is scheduled to fly seven Dragon missions to the space station over the next 14 months, three manned, and four cargo, as the United States government space agency NASA increasingly turns to commercial cooperation as it expands space exploration, including programmess to explore the moon and Mars.

The Japanese astronaut, Soichi Noguchi, has flown to space twice, including on the first space shuttle mission after the 2003 Columbia disaster. Similar pleas for SpaceX's first crew launch on May 30 went unheeded. The NASA mission follows on a successful demonstration of the same spacecraft that launched in May and returned two astronauts to Earth in August.

President-elect Joe Biden tweeted his congratulations to NASA and SpaceX following the launch. - Michael S. Hopkins, 51, a colonel in the U.S. Space Force, is the commander for the flight.

Time in space: Walker has logged one previous mission in space. Noguchi has been on two spaceflights and made history as the first Japanese astronaut to perform a spacewalk outside the ISS in 2005. In 2009 and 2010, he spent five months in orbit as a member of the space station crew. With Kennedy back in astronaut-launching action, NASA can stop buying seats on Russian Soyuz rockets.

The arrival of four astronauts to the station will bring the total crew to seven.

He will not be the first Black astronaut aboard the station.

The NASA astronauts will join their colleague Kate Rubins on the orbiting space lab, where they will conduct a range of scientific research.

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