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SpaceX delays Crew-8 launch, but lines up Starlink launch instead

SpaceX
Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

Bad weather conditions on the launch corridor for a human spaceflight from Kennedy Space Center have prompted a two-day delay, so SpaceX took the opportunity to roll out and try and shoehorn a launch without humans from nearby Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Thursday.

The Crew-8 mission set to take up three NASA astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut to the International Space Station was originally targeting a liftoff just after midnight early Friday, but because of poor offshore conditions for the flight track of the Crew Dragon Endeavour including high winds and waves along the eastern seaboard, SpaceX and NASA opted to delay the until Saturday night.

Now the Falcon 9 with the four crew of NASA's Matthew Dominick, Michael Barratt and Jeanette Epps, and Roscosmos's Alexander Grebenkin is targeting 11:16 p.m. Saturday to lift off from KSC's Launch Pad 39-A.

"In the unlikely case of an abort during launch or the flight of Dragon, the wind and wave conditions must be within acceptable conditions for the safe recovery of the crew and spacecraft," reads an update posted to NASA's website.

The delay means that SpaceX was able to try to knock out what would be the 13th launch from the Space Coast on Thursday morning.

NASA as a rule has requested SpaceX to stand down from any launch attempts within 24 hours of a , so with the Crew-8 delay, SpaceX wasted no time to shoehorn in another launch opportunity.

A Falcon 9 from Canaveral's Space Launch Complex 40 carrying 23 of the company's Starlink satellites is now slated to lift off during a two-hour window from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, with a backup opportunity Friday during a window that opens at 10:04 a.m.

Space Launch Delta 45's weather squadron forecasts an 85% chance for good conditions Thursday that drop to 65% if delayed to Friday.

The first-stage booster for the mission is flying for the 11th time and will attempt a recovery downrange in the Atlantic on the droneship Just Read the Instructions.

2024 Orlando Sentinel. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Citation: SpaceX delays Crew-8 launch, but lines up Starlink launch instead (2024, February 29) retrieved 15 July 2024 from https://phys.org/news/2024-02-spacex-delays-crew-lines-starlink.html
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