LAKE MARY, Fla. - A SpaceX rocket is scheduled to blast off Wednesday from Florida, carrying a Dragon capsule with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station (ISS).
It will be the first time astronauts launch from the U.S. in nine years and a first for a private company.
Forecasters put the odds of acceptable weather at 40%. But that doesn't include the need for favorable conditions all the way up the U.S. and Canadian coasts and across the sea to Ireland. The Dragon's emergency escape system can kick in, if necessary, all the way to orbit. The models have shifted over the past week but have been trending better over the last day or two, forecasters say. A final decision on the weather will be made at approximately 45 minutes before launch, officials say.
On Tuesday, Hurley and Behnken are expected to participate in some tech briefings and will spend the remainder of the day with their families.
On launch day, the astronauts will wake up at 9 a.m and undergo a medical check before breakfast. Around noon, they will have a weather briefing, then suit up for departure to the launch pad around 1:15 p.m. At 2 p.m., they will enter the Dragon capsule.
On Monday, the crew aboard the ISS conducted preparations for the Crew Dragon capsule's arrival.
SpaceX's sleek, new Dragon crew capsule outshines NASA's old Apollo spacecraft in virtually every way. The Dragon's clean lines and minimalist interior, with touchscreens instead of scores of switches and knobs, make ven the space shuttles seem more yesteryear. This fresh take on a vintage look will be on full display Wednesday when SpaceX plans to launch two NASA astronauts to the International Space
There are two backup launch dates: Saturday, May 30, and Sunday May 31.