SpaceX NASA Live Updates: Astronauts Prepare for Launch

5 min readNov 15, 2020

Sunday’s mission will carry a crew of four to the International Space Station in a capsule built by the private rocket company.

The door to the Crew Dragon capsule has been closed ahead of four astronauts’ trip to space.

The astronauts flying on SpaceX’s Crew-1 flight to the space station on Sunday before they set out for the launchpad.Credit…Joe Skipper/Reuters

Four astronauts — three from NASA, one from JAXA, the Japanese space agency — will be sitting inside a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, boosted to orbit on top of a Falcon 9 rocket. The mission is known as Crew-1, and the astronauts named their capsule Resilience. They are headed to the International Space Station for a six-month stay.

A live video stream from NASA showed the astronauts in good spirits in the suit-up room where they had already put on their modern SpaceX flight suits. As numerous SpaceX technicians in black uniforms and face masks assisted them, the astronauts smiled and took photos with visitors, including Jim Bridenstine, the administrator of NASA, and Gwynne Shotwell, the president and chief operations officer of SpaceX.

Just after 4 p.m., the astronauts got into Tesla cars with license plates that said “L8RERTH.” They said goodbye to their families and began a drive to the launchpad that took about 20 minutes. Following their arrival, the four crew members boarded the capsule one at a time and began testing its systems ahead of launch.

This is the first of what NASA calls “operational” flights of the Crew Dragon. In May, there was a demonstration mission, with two NASA astronauts — Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley — aboard. That launch, in a capsule named Endeavour, was the first time that a crewed mission had lifted off from the United States to orbit since the retirement of NASA’s space shuttles in 2011. Its return was also the first water landing by astronauts aboard an American spacecraft since the Apollo capsules stopped flying in the 1970s.

Now Boarding: SpaceX’s New Ride to Orbit for NASA Astronauts

The Crew Dragon launched successfully on Saturday.

NASA has been relying on Russian Soyuz rockets to get its astronauts to the space station. That has become increasingly expensive, rising to a cost of more than $90 million a seat.

— Kenneth Chang

When is the launch and how can I watch it?

The Crew-1 mission is scheduled to launch on Sunday at 7:27 p.m. Eastern time from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA Television will broadcast coverage beginning at 3:15 p.m. Or you can watch it in the video player below.

In its latest weather forecast issued on Sunday morning, the U.S. Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron gives a 50 percent chance of favorable conditions at the launchpad. The administrator of NASA, Jim Bridenstine, said on Twitter Sunday just before 6 p.m. Eastern time that weather conditions were favorable for an on-time liftoff.

SpaceX and NASA are also keeping watch farther out in the Atlantic Ocean. The weather and waters there need to be fairly calm in case something goes wrong during the ascent to orbit and the Crew Dragon needs to make an emergency splashdown (adverse weather conditions led to a postponement of the earlier Saturday launch date).

As is customary for Falcon 9 rocket launches, the first stage or booster is to return to Earth and land on a floating platform, and that too requires that the ocean waters to not be too rough. The Crew-1 booster is to refurbished and reused for the next launch of astronauts, scheduled for next spring.

If Sunday’s launch is delayed, there is a backup opportunity on Wednesday.

— Kenneth Chang


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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the U.S. federal government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as