SpaceX-NASA Mission to ISS on Schedule Though Weather Remains 

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SpaceX-NASA Mission to ISS on Schedule Though Weather Remains Uncertain

SpaceX-NASA Mission to ISS on Schedule Though Weather Remains Uncertain

SpaceX's historic first crewed mission was set to blast off for the International Space Station as scheduled on Saturday, NASA said, although uncertainty remained over weather conditions at the Florida launch site.

"We are moving forward with launch today," NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said in a tweet. "Weather challenges remain with a 50 percent chance of cancellation."

"Proceeding with countdown today," said SpaceX founder Elon Musk, the entrepreneur whose California-based company is seeking to become the first private firm to send astronauts into space.

Weather forced the postponement on Wednesday of what would have been the first launch of American astronauts from US soil since the space shuttle program ended in 2011.

The Falcon 9 rocket with SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule is scheduled to liftoff at 3:22pm Eastern Time (1922 GMT or 12:52am IST on Sunday) on what is designed to be the final test flight before NASA certifies the spacecraft for regular crew flights.

The next window, which is determined by the relative position of the launch site to the space station, is Sunday at 3:00pm EST (1900 GMT or 12:30am IST on Monday), and fair weather is predicted.

NASA astronauts Robert Behnken, 49, and Douglas Hurley, 53, former military test pilots who joined the US space agency in 2000, are to blast off for the ISS from historic Launch Pad 39A on a two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

The same launch pad was used by Neil Armstrong and his Apollo 11 crewmates on their historic 1969 journey to the Moon, as NASA seeks to revive excitement around human space exploration ahead of a planned return to Earth's satellite and then Mars.

The mission comes despite nationwide shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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  Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 1:13:14 AM

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