The hardware that will fly SpaceX’s next astronaut mission for NASA is ready and ready for liftoff.
The Crew-5 The mission is scheduled to launch at noon EDT (1600 GMT) Wednesday (October 5) from Pad 39A at NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, and team members have checked the boxes in the leadup.
On Saturday (Oct. 1), for example, the four Crew-5 astronauts — NASA’s Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, Japan’s Koichi Wakata and Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina — reached KSC from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Related: SpaceX Crew-5 astronauts ready for historic mission
On the same day, the Hawk 9 rocket and Dragon capsule to be flown by Crew-5 were launched at Pad 39A from SpaceXprocessing facility at KSC. Falcon 9 is very white and clean by SpaceX standards. Elon Musk’s company is famous for its landing and flight boosters, which turn black with soot on their journeys back to Earth. But Crew-5 will be the first mission for the Falcon 9’s specific first stage.
On Sunday (Oct. 2), SpaceX conducted a “static fire” test of the Falcon 9, briefly lighting up the first stage’s nine Merlin engines in a standard pre-flight test. SpaceX, NASA and Crew-5 astronauts “also completed a full rehearsal of launch day activities” on Sunday, SpaceX said via Twitter (opens in new tab).
Crew-5 will send Mann, Cassada, Wakata and Kikina International Space Station for a stay of five months. The expedition will make history in many ways. For example, Kikina will become the first cosmonaut to ever fly on a SpaceX mission into orbit. And Mann will become the first Native American woman to reach the final frontier.
NASA and SpaceX had targeted Crew-5 liftoff today (October 3), but Hurricane Ian pushed things back two days.
The impact of the storm on the schedule for NASA Artemis 1 The mission to the moon was much more dramatic. NASA had targeted September 27 for the launch of Artemis 1, which will lift off from KSC’s Pad 39B. But the Artemis 1 team dropped Artemis 1 off the pad last week to protect it from Ian and are now eyeing a mid-November launch.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out there (opens in new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018, illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for extraterrestrial life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or up Facebook (opens in new tab).