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All Systems GO For Next Astronaut Launch From Florida's Space Coast

A view of SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule from the launch tower at Kennedy Space Center. Photo: SpaceX
A view of SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule from the launch tower at Kennedy Space Center. Photo: SpaceX

Four astronauts are spending their last few hours here on Earth before launching to the International Space Station from Kennedy Space Center Friday morning on SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft.

"All systems and weather are looking good for Falcon 9’s launch of Dragon with four astronauts on board," SpaceX said in a Tweet Thursday.

The launch is scheduled Friday at 5:49 a.m. ET and weather remains favorable.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, along with Japan’s Aki Hoshide and Europe's Thomas Pesquet are heading to the station for a six month mission on the orbiting lab.

The crew will get a wake-up call around 11 o’clock Thursday night. They’ll put on their SpaceX flight suits and head to pad 39A and strap in.

This mission called Crew-2 is the second operational flight for SpaceX under NASA’s commercial crew program, and marks the third human spaceflight from Florida in less than 12 months.

Once launched, it will take the crew about 24 hours to reach the station with a scheduled arrival to dock to the space station Saturday at 5:10 a.m. ET.

It's the first time SpaceX is using a reused capsule and booster for the mission. This Crew Dragon capsule flew astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the station and back last year. Behnken's wife Megan McArthur is the pilot for Crew-2  and will fly the vehicle from the same seat her husband sat in during his mission.

The booster for Crew-2 launched the Crew-1 astronauts late last year -- scheduled to return to Earth next week.

The four Crew-2 astronauts will remain on board for about six months, conducting more than 200 science experiments on the orbiting lab.

An attempt to launch the mission Thursday was scrubbed due to bad weather downrange. NASA and SpaceX track weather along the launch trajectory in case there’s an abort mid flight.

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. Brendan is a native Floridian, born and raised in Broward County. He moved to Central Florida in 2005 to attend the University of Central Florida. He began working at WMFE as a college intern where he discovered his love for public radio.