Crew Dragon astronauts don stress fits, run by way of follow countdown


Astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken have been escorted to their SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft Saturday for a gown rehearsal countdown that units the stage for launch Wednesday’s on a historic take a look at flight to the Worldwide House Station.

Hurley and Behnken walked by way of the identical timeline Saturday they’re going to comply with on launch day. The astronaut’s itinerary included a climate briefing, placing on their futuristic SpaceX-designed stress fits and heading for pad 39A in a white Tesla SUV, escorted by safety personnel.

After taking an elevator to the 265-foot-level of the launch pad gantry, Hurley and Behnken deliberate to stroll throughout a 50-foot-long entry arm to a small “white room” the place they may climb into their seats within the Crew Dragon. They have been assisted by a SpaceX closeout crew accountable for sealing them contained in the spacecraft earlier than leaving the tower.

The countdown timeline known as for a simulated scrub about an hour earlier than the deliberate launch time, ending the simulation and giving the crew a last probability to run by way of launch pad exit procedures.

Astronaut Douglas Hurley, left, and Robert Behnken donned stress fits and headed for launch pad 39A Saturday on the Kennedy House Heart for a gown rehearsal countdown aboard their Crew Dragon spacecraft. Launch is deliberate for Wednesday at 4:33 p.m.


The astronauts arrived on the Kennedy House Heart launch web site final Wednesday, simply in time to witness the Falcon 9 rocket’s roll out to the pad, NASA’s official flight readiness evaluation and a take a look at firing of their booster’s first stage engines Friday afternoon.

“Thrilling couple of days right here at @NASAKennedy!” Behnken tweeted. “Crew arrival in Florida was superior, seeing our car roll to 39A was epic, and watching our @SpaceX Falcon 9 1st stage hearth yet another time earlier than our mission nonetheless has a smile on my face!”

NASA’s first piloted launch from U.S. soil in practically 9 years is focused for 4:33 p.m. EDT Wednesday, roughly the second Earth’s rotation carries the launch pad into the aircraft of the station’s orbit.

However as typical in early summer time alongside Florida’s House Coast, the climate might be an element.

Meteorologists with the 45th House Wing at close by Patrick Air Power Base predicted a 60% probability of circumstances that might violate launch commit standards attributable to “flight by way of precipitation, thick cloud rule, cumulus cloud rule.”

One other wild card for the Crew Dragon mission: climate alongside the spacecraft’s ascent trajectory that might be an element within the unlikely occasion of a significant booster malfunction triggering an emergency abort. The Crew Dragon is provided with a classy abort system designed to rapidly propel the capsule and its crew to security at any level from the beginning of fueling all the way in which to orbit.

However an in-flight abort may end in an unplanned splashdown at sea anyplace from simply off Cape Canaveral all the way in which to Newfoundland and past to the North Atlantic Ocean close to Eire.

The Crew Dragon spacecraft requires comparatively benign circumstances for a secure splashdown and launch managers might be evaluating precise circumstances alongside the flight path on launch day.

“It is like anticipating each mild to be inexperienced in your strategy to work within the morning. It isn’t gonna occur,” stated Steve Payne, a veteran NASA engineer who labored with the Air Power to develop the company’s emergency rescue plans. “You will get as many as you’ll be able to, however you will all the time have some patches the place it is not as nice as you would like. We perceive that, it is a danger we have now to simply accept as a result of we won’t assure good climate.”

If the Crew Dragon doesn’t get off the bottom Wednesday, launch will transfer to three:22 p.m. Saturday. A 3rd backup alternative is on the market Sunday at three p.m.

NASA managers unanimously cleared the Crew Dragon and its Falcon 9 rocket for launch Wednesday after a two-day flight readiness evaluation that concluded Friday, signing a proper certificates of flight readiness, or COFR.

Two-and-and-a-half hours later, SpaceX take a look at fired the Falcon 9’s first stage engines in an ordinary pre-flight train to confirm all methods are “go” for launch. There have been no points.

SpaceX plans its personal launch readiness evaluation Monday and the area station program will maintain a last evaluation to ensure NASA and its worldwide companions are prepared for the arrival of the Crew Dragon and two extra crew members.

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