SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket passed the last tests this week and is ready to take, this Saturday (14), three NASA astronauts and one from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to the International Space Station (ISS) . If the weather helps, the takeoff should happen at 21h49 (Brasília time); if not, the launch will be moved to Sunday at 21h27 (GMT).
On board SpaceX will be astronauts from the American space agency Michael Hopkins, Shannon Walker and Victor Glover, as well as Soichi Noguchi, from JAXA. The four will join the three members of Expedition 64 for a six-month scientific mission.
The flight between Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and the ISS is expected to take about eight hours, when it will dock at the station. One of the astronauts, however, must return to Crew Dragon to “sleep in the car”: the station only has six bedrooms. Therefore, Hopkins (who is the crew commander of Crew Dragon) will have to sleep in the ISS “parking lot”.
Rocket will descend in the sea
After the separation from Crew Dragon, SpaceX will try to land the first stage of Falcon 9 on the Just Read the Instructions platform (“Only read the instructions”), parked in the Atlantic Ocean.
NASA certified SpaceX, on November 10, for operational crew missions on a “space bridge” between Earth and the ISS. According to the company, Saturday’s flight is the first of three scheduled until the end of 2021.
SpaceX will begin streaming directly from the Kennedy Space Center, four hours before the Falcon 9 engines ignited, on its website and YouTube channel. NASA will also broadcast the launch.