TheThe flight must take place on Friday 5:49 am instead of Thursday 6:11 am, due to “adverse weather conditions”.
The mission will take off from Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
The US Space Agency predicts a “90% probability of favorable weather conditions” for takeoff, and the weather should “improve” along the flight path.
Wind remains the “major meteorological concern” of takeoff.
“For manned flights, we must make sure that the weather conditions allow for a possible rescue of the team” during takeoff, explained Steve Goerchek, interim NASA administrator.
This is SpaceX’s second mission to the International Space Station since the United States resumed manned spaceflight, and the first with a European: the Frenchman Thomas Pesquet.
The mission, codenamed Crew-2, also includes two American astronauts, Shane Kimbro and Megan MacArthur, as well as Japanese Akihiko Hoshid.
It’s using an already used pusher and capsule, which is a big savings for NASA.
“This helps us to see all the potential and realize the dreams that we had when we started this cooperation with SpaceX ten years ago,” said Tom Simon, an expert at the US space agency, told AFP.
NASA wants to be able to reuse the rockets at least five times for manned flights.
“Pajama party atmosphere”
SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, has established itself with NASA’s Space Transportation Agency at a time when it is building up Boeing’s Starliner capsule on its test flights.
The two companies have multi-million dollar contracts with the US Space Agency.
The success of the Crew-1 flight in May 2020, SpaceX’s first manned test flight, broke the Russian monopoly on flights to the International Space Station and restored the Americans the ability to accomplish this feat, after the space shuttle program ended. .
The four astronauts will also coexist for a few days with Team Crew-1, before the latter returns from their six-month mission.
With three Russians on board, the terminal will be extraordinarily full, with no fewer than 11 passengers.
“It’s going to be a sleep environment”, said Ben Staal, who works on the Crew-2 mission, with an astronaut sleeping in each of the SpaceX’s docked capsules.
But the astronauts will devote all their time to work: They will have to prepare the Crew-2 capsule for a long-duration space flight, and the Crew-1 when it returns to Earth on April 28.
The astronaut team will be responsible for conducting several scientific experiments, such as examining the effects of weightlessness on brain organelles (tiny brains created in the laboratory).
Another big part of the job was to upgrade the plant’s solar power system by installing new compact panels that roll like a huge yoga mat.
The mission takes place amidst uncertainty about the future of the International Space Station, as Russia has announced that it plans to exit the project and build its own space station in 2025.
“We have not had any discussions with Russia or Roscosmos regarding their projects, and they will do their work and decide what they want to do, and we will make decisions on our side with our partners,” said Steve Goerchek.