SpaceX, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s private rocket company, made final preparations to launch two Americans into orbit on Wednesday from Florida on a mission that would mark the first spaceflight of NASA astronauts from US soil in nine years.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was due to lift off from the Kennedy Space Center at 4:33 p.m EDT (2033 GMT), launching astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on a 19-hour ride aboard the company’s newly designed Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station.
“We are go for launch!” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine wrote on Twitter, although looming storm clouds off Florida’s coast potentially could force a postponement of the mission until Saturday.
SpaceX and NASA “will continue monitoring liftoff and downrange weather as we step into the countdown,” Bridenstine added.
The two astronauts continued their preparations for the planned launch.