The Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission arrives at the hangar at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida on Sept. 23, as the agency announced Thursday it was postponing the launch because of Hurricane Ian. Photo courtesy of SpaceX
Sept. 29 (UPI) -- NASA is shifting the launch date of its Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station in the wake of Hurricane Ian, the space agency confirmed.
"The safety of the crew, ground teams, and hardware are of the utmost importance to NASA and SpaceX," NASA said in a statement on the agency's website.
The launch will now take place no earlier than 12 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, Oct. 5. A backup date is currently set for Oct. 7.
NASA is also exploring potential range opportunities on Oct. 6 and pending review of the phasing timeline, Oct. 8, and Oct. 9.
The space agency had originally planned to launch no earlier than Oct. 3.
"The Dragon Endurance spacecraft is currently mated to the Falcon 9 rocket and safely secured inside SpaceX's hangar at Launch Complex 39A," NASA said in a statement.
"Kennedy Space Center is also making preparations across the spaceport to secure other property and infrastructure. After the storm progresses, teams from NASA and SpaceX will evaluate the potential impacts to the center and determine whether to adjust the mission timeline further."
The Crew-5 mission will carry four astronauts to the International Space Station to replace the current Crew-4 mission during a planned five-day handover
NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada will be joined by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina.
This is the second recent weather-related delay for the space agency.
On Monday, NASA postponed the highly anticipated launch of the Artemis I spacecraft and will not attempt another launch until at least mid-October.
The agency said it had started moving the $4.1 billion rocket from the launch pad back to its storage hangar at Kennedy Space Center, in anticipation of Hurricane Ian.
More than 2 million people throughout the state of Florida remained without power early Thursday, while a 72-year-old man was found unresponsive in a canal near his home.
The hurricane, which was downgraded to a tropical storm on Thursday, made landfall in southwest Florida on Wednesday afternoon with winds in excess of 155 mph, leaving a path of destruction as it moved northeast over the state.