NASA, SpaceX target October 5 to launch Crew 5 astronauts after delaying Ian

Kennedy Space Center, Florida – Operations at the Florida Spaceport are back to normal after Hurricane Ian rampaged across the state.

On Wednesday, October 5, NASA and SpaceX aim to launch a crew of American, Japanese and Russian astronauts to the International Space Station.

If the current schedule continues, the Crew-5 mission will launch on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft from the Kennedy Space Center launch pad 39A at noon EST. Backup release dates are available October 7 and possibly October 6-9, pending review.

NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Casada, JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscosmos astronaut Anna Kekina were at Johnson Space Center in Houston for the last weeks before they traveled to Florida for liftoff with SpaceX.

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The astronauts arrived at KSC on Saturday and completed a countdown rehearsal for launch on Sunday.

For the first time since SpaceX began launching NASA astronauts from US soil in 2020, the Russian Space Agency and NASA have exchanged a seat on the commercial spacecraft. Kikina will be the first astronaut to fly with SpaceX.

Crew-5 astronaut launch changed several times before the last delay Because of Hurricane Ianthat made landfall in southwest Florida on Wednesday, leaving a wide path of death and destruction in its wake.

“Mission teams continue to monitor Ian’s impacts at the Space Coast and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and can adjust the launch date again, as necessary,” NASA wrote in a blog post. “As of 6 p.m. on Wednesday, September 28, the Kennedy Space Center announced that HURCON I has positioned the ride team in a sheltered location at their designated locations until the storm passes.”

Before the storm, the space center closed and The Artemis-1 SLS moon rocket was transported to the Vehicle Assembly Building. NASA was aiming to launch the SLS moon rocket before the end of September but now it will have to wait until November.

The original Crew-5’s launch date was pushed back in September after the Falcon 9’s mission booster was damaged during transfer to KSC.

This launch will mark the fifth part of the operational mission of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program in which the space agency pushes SpaceX, and beginning next year, Boeing will transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

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