WASHINGTON | TO share the risk of bad weather, Nasa and SpaceX have confirmed on Monday that everything was still in the green for the planned launch Wednesday of a rocket with two american astronauts, the first manned flight of the space company and the first in the United States for nine years.
“Officials from Nasa and SpaceX have given the “go” for the launch of the mission, which will jump-start manned flights to the United States, ” announced the Nasa, after a further day of meetings, to final checks, depending on the protocol very strict space agency for flights with astronauts.
Ignition static on Friday and a dress rehearsal of the astronauts held successful Friday and Saturday, reported the officials.
“All that remains for us is to be able to control the weather “, said at a briefing at the Kennedy space center in Florida, Kathy Lueders, program manager, commercial flights, the manned Nasa.
The take-off of the rocket Falcon 9 from SpaceX, with at its top the capsule Crew Dragon, is scheduled for Wednesday at 16h33 of the Kennedy center, where they took off the astronauts who have walked on the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s. The two astronauts are Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.
Forecasters from Cape Canaveral estimate it at 60 % the risk of adverse weather (wind, rain…). If the takeoff was not possible on Wednesday, the following windows launch are Saturday at 15h22, then on Sunday at 15: 00.
But Mike McAleenan, a forecaster for the military base at Cape Canaveral, was said to have “a little hope” for Wednesday, the weather in Florida is very changeable at this time. A new estimate will be published on Tuesday.
A spokesman for the space agency, Joshua Finch, has indicated to the AFP that the calculated probability of ” loss of crew “, for this demonstration mission, was a chance on 276 (0,36 %), to be beyond the minimum threshold required by Nasa for this contract (1 in 270).
Only two vessels developed by the agencies, Russian and american, were moored at the orbital station (ISS) since the beginning of its assembly in 1998.
In 2014, Nasa awarded contracts to two private companies, the giant Boeing and the young SpaceX founded by a thirty-year-old native of South Africa who made a fortune in Silicon Valley as co-site PayPal, Elon Musk. They have been entrusted with the task of designing and building capsules that will take the baton of the illustrious space shuttle american, who were arrested in 2011 after thirty years of service.
Since then, Russia was the only rocket in the world capable of sending astronauts to the ISS, the Soyuz, and the Americans were paying the Russian space agency for a seat. This addiction will be broken once Crew Dragon or Starliner will be approved as safe by the Nasa.