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NASA postpones SpaceX Crew-2 astronaut launch to Friday

Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk announces a delay for the SpaceX NASA Crew-2 launch on Wednesday during press conference at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI
Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk announces a delay for the SpaceX NASA Crew-2 launch on Wednesday during press conference at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

ORLANDO, Fla., April 21 (UPI) -- NASA postponed the SpaceX Crew-2 launch of four astronauts from Florida to the International Space Station by one day, to Friday morning, due to weather risks.

Liftoff of the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon Endeavor capsule is now planned for 5:49 a.m. EDT on Friday from Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center.

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The launch was previously scheduled for Thursday morning, but weather in the Atlantic Ocean seems too rough to allow for an emergency splashdown of the capsule if needed, space center director Bob Cabana said in a press conference Wednesday at Kennedy.

"Although the weather's probably gonna look great at the launch site, we're worried about those down-range winds and wave heights in case of an abort, should that happen," Cabana said.

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Weather at the launch site on Friday morning is 90% favorable for launch, with only a 10% chance of rain causing a problem, according to a U.S. Space Force forecast.

The capsule crew consists of NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough as mission commander and Meghan McArthur as mission pilot, Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide.

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They will conduct science experiments and space station maintenance for six months on the orbiting laboratory.

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All four crew members have flown to space before, astronaut Tracy Caldwell said at Wednesday's press conference.

The Crew-2 members "have proven through their performance, that they can and they will get the job done," Caldwell said. "All four have a wealth of spaceflight experience and some of the best personalities in our corps today."

The launch is the first to carry astronauts on a reused SpaceX capsule and rocket. Endeavour was first launched May 30, carrying McArthur's husband, astronaut Bob Behnken, and Doug Hurley on the first crewed SpaceX mission.

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SpaceX Crew-2 launches to International Space Station

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches NASA's second crew to the International Space Station at 5:49 a.m. Friday from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo

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