NASA, SpaceX target October 5, will launch Crew-5 astronauts after Ian delay

NASA, SpaceX target October 5, will launch Crew-5 astronauts after Ian delay
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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – Operations at Florida’s spaceport are returning to normal after Hurricane Ian’s statewide rage.

NASA and SpaceX are now targeting Wednesday, October. 5, to launch a team of American, Japanese and Russian astronauts to the International Space Station.

If the current schedule holds, the Crew-5 mission will launch at noon EDT aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and the Crew Dragon spacecraft from Kennedy Space Center launch pad 39A. Backup launch dates are available in October. 7 and possibly October. 6-9, review pending.

NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina were at the Johnson Space Center in Houston in the final weeks before flying to Florida for takeoff with SpaceX.

The astronauts arrived at KSC on Saturday and completed the wetsuit rehearsal of Sunday’s launch countdown.

Since SpaceX began launching NASA astronauts from American soil in 2020, the Russian Space Agency and NASA have swapped a seat on the commercial spacecraft. Kikina will be the first cosmonaut to fly with SpaceX.

The launch of the Crew-5 astronaut changed several times before the final delay caused by Hurricane IanLanding in Southwest Florida on Wednesday, leaving a wide path of death and destruction in its wake.

“Mission teams continue to monitor Ian’s impact on the Space Coast and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and may readjust the launch date as needed,” NASA said in a blog post. “Beginning at 6 pm on Wednesday, September 28, Kennedy Space Center has declared HURCON I status with the crew guarded in their designated locations until the storm has passed.”

Before the storm, the space center closed and Transported the Artemis-1 SLS moon rocket back to the Vehicle Assembly Building. NASA was aiming to launch the SLS moon rocket before the end of September but will now have to wait until November.

The original Crew-5 launch date for September was delayed after the Falcon 9 booster for the mission was damaged in transit to KSC.

This launch will mark the fifth operational mission segment of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, in which the space agency pays SpaceX and, starting next year, Boeing pays to shuttle astronauts to and from the ISS.

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