NASA astronaut on Sunday’s SpaceX launch: It’s a new era in space flight

First Commercial Rotational Mission to Launch
First Commercial Rotational Mission to Launch

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – NASA and SpaceX are getting ready for a historic mission to the International Space Station. It will be the first fully-crewed SpaceX launch to the ISS with three American astronauts and a Japanese astronaut onboard.

The launch is scheduled for 7:27 p.m. Sunday. The initial launch time on Saturday was postponed because of weather.

NASA Astronaut Loral O’Hara described the launch as a new era of space flight.

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“The launch tomorrow represents the start of regular sustained operational missions to the international space station,” explained O’Hara. “This means more people, more science and more commercial opportunities available in lower orbit.”

The four astronauts will spend six months at the International Space Station, where O’Hara said they will do a variety of work.

“They’re going to be doing all sorts of science and maintenance activities onboard the space station and this includes everything from medical research on new cancer drugs that will benefit people here on earth to research activities like growing vegetables, radishes and lettuces, or installing a new toilet on the U.S. side of the international space station that will demonstrate technology that we might use on the moon someday,” said O’Hara.

Ahead of Sunday’s launch, O’Hara said the four astronauts will spend time at the Kennedy Space Center where they will undergo medical checks and prepare for flight.

“About seven hours before launch they will get up, they will do medical checks, they will have breakfast and they will start to get ready. They will get their spacesuits on, they will have any final briefings that they need to do,” explained O’Hara. “About two hours and fifteen minutes before, they will head out to the pad and get into the rocket and close the hatch about an hour before launch.”

Earlier this year, Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken went to the International Space Station aboard a Crew Dragon capsule on the inaugural SpaceX demonstration.

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