Delayed start Crew Dragon with astronauts is scheduled for Saturday
The second attempt to launch newest American spacecraft Crew Dragon with NASA astronauts on Board is scheduled for Saturday. First, in 2011 the manned flight to the International space station from the United States will depart Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken, who were preparing to launch on Wednesday, but the team at the start and did not hear - were prevented by the weather.
USA waiting for the resumption of private manned launches since 2011, when he completed the Space Shuttle program. It is symbolic that Hurley was part of the crew of the last mission of the space Shuttle "Atlantis", which marked the closure of the entire program, and will now become commander of the test flight Crew Dragon.
As warned by NASA on Friday, the weather in Florida is still unpredictable, and, as emphasized by the head of NASA at a press briefing, the US is not afraid to move once again run if need be.
"Good cancellation is always better than a bad start," he recalled to NASA before the start of the word American test pilot, astronaut Donald Slayton.
Start created at the request of NASA company SpaceX ship scheduled for 15.22 (22.22 GMT) Saturday from pad 39A launch site at Cape Canaveral in Florida. The same one with which in the 60-70-ies on super-heavy launch vehicles "Saturn-5" was done launches to the moon, and then carried out the flight of the Shuttle.
NASA emphasize that the priority in the test is the safety of the crew, and therefore do not plan to "joke" with the weather. As announced before the start of the head of the Space centre Kennedy Bo Boar, the probability of favorable launch weather on Saturday is 50%.
On the eve of the launch the head of NASA has said many times that the crew has the opportunity to abandon the flight at any time, but Hurley and Behnken had assured him of his readiness. The emergency Crew Dragon is equipped with a system of evacuation: eight motors of the ship in the event of a malfunction of the rocket will take him to a safe distance, after which the Crew Dragon capsule landed in the Atlantic ocean.
Tested in January, the rescue of the crew guarantees the safety of the crew, but adds to the problems in the calculation of permissible weather conditions – they have to be perfect not only in location of the rocket launch, but also in the areas of return of vehicle in case of an accident.
Crew Dragon test flight on Wednesday was canceled 20 minutes before the estimated start time. By the time the crew sat in the cockpit with the hatch battened down, waiting for the complete filling of the carrier rocket Falcon 9. All except the weather was that day perfect and in accordance with the stated plans for SpaceX and NASA.
On Saturday a few hours before the historic launch must go through the same scenario: the singing of the national anthem by Grammy award winner Kelly Clarkson, "distance embrace" with their families, travel to the launch pad in a white Tesla Model X and the painting on the white wall before boarding the ship.
The white house has not confirmed the visit of the President of Donald trump in Florida for launch on Saturday, but a few days earlier he, along with his wife Melania were waiting for the rocket launch at the Baikonur.
In the case of a successful start Saturday docking with the ISS will take place on Sunday may 31 at 17.29 GMT.
But the timing of the completion of the test flight Crew Dragon is still unknown. It is assumed that Hurley and Behnken, arriving at the ISS, will become a full part of the station crew, assisting in orbit to American Chris Cassidy and Russians Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Wagner. Today we know one thing: the duration of their stay on the ISS is limited to "life" solar Dragon Crew, so the ship should be back home no later than three to four months.
The US has lost the possibility of independent manned launches in July 2011 with the last flight of the Space Shuttle. Since then, American astronauts delivered to the ISS on the Russian Soyuz, but dependence on Moscow and the cost of the service spurred Washington to ensure that as soon as possible to resume its own manned mission.
The decision was documented in 2014, when NASA contracted with private companies SpaceX and Boeing to develop manned spaceships.
According to reports, the development of Crew Dragon, the American space Agency paid the company Ilona Mask $ 3.4 billion, in the future, the cost of flying one astronaut on that ship will be about $ 55 million. The last place on the Russian "Soyuz" NASA bought for $ 90 million.