SpaceX plans to launch four astronauts on the International Space Station, although the prospects for good weather were only 50%, and its leader, Masque, was suspended because of COVID-19.
This launch should mark the second flight in almost a decade when the astronauts were sent into orbit from the United States.
“Game day!” – wrote on Twitter NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, commander of the crew.
While nearby cities were preparing for the onslaught of spectators, SpaceX founder and executive director Ilon Mask told Twitter that he had “most likely” a moderate case of coronavirus, despite mixed test results.
It is NASA’s policy that everyone who passes a positive test for the virus is quarantined and remains isolated.
The mask remained optimistic. “Launching the astronaut today! – he tweeted on Sunday morning, adding that last week he had symptoms of a mild cold, but now he feels “quite normal. Representatives of the California-based company SpaceX did not answer any questions about his whereabouts.
The launch of three Americans and one Japanese – all but one of the former visitors to the space station – takes place just three months after a couple of NASA test pilots successfully completed their first SpaceX flight in a Dragon crew capsule.
The team, led by Air Force Colonel Hopkins, includes physicist Shannon Walker and Navy Commander and rookie astronaut Victor Glover, who will be the first black astronaut to spend on board the space station for a long time – from five to six months. Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi will be the third person who will enter into orbit on board of three different spacecrafts.
They named their capsule Resilience taking into account all problems of 2020, first of all the global pandemic.
The 50-50 forecast was focused only on the local weather for the planned launch at 03:27, not on the wind or sea state throughout the East Coast or across the North Atlantic to Ireland. Wind and waves should be within normal limits, in case something goes wrong during the launch and the capsule will require emergency actuation.
The stormy sea has prompted SpaceX to speed up its launch for one day to get its landing platform to the right position in the Atlantic. The company plans to reuse today’s first stage gas pedal for the next launch next spring.
Another crew launch company for NASA is Boeing, but they have not yet launched the astronauts. The company is still working on solving software problems after the failed space debut of the Starliner capsule last December.