CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (WFLA) – We have liftoff!
NASA launched its first-ever commercial crewed mission from Florida’s Space Coast on Saturday afternoon. It’s also the first time American astronauts have launched from U.S. soil since 2011.
The SpaceX Demo-2 mission was initially scheduled to take place Wednesday but had to be scrubbed less than 20 minutes before liftoff due to unfavorable weather. Weather was once again a concern for Saturday’s targeted launch of 3:22 p.m. ET but eventually cleared up for an on-time launch.
“God speed Bob and Doug!” NASA officials said as the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft launched. “America has launched!”
Behnken and Hurley got suited up and said goodbye to their families around 12 p.m. ET before heading to Kennedy Space Center’s historic Launch Complex 39A.
By 1 p.m. ET, the two NASA astronauts were buckled into their seats and completing communication checks with the NASA and SpaceX teams in preparation for launch.
The hatch on the Dragon capsule closed just before 1:30 p.m. ET, less than two hours out from the targeted liftoff.
If the weather cooperates and all goes according to plan Saturday, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft will lift off from Kennedy Space Center, carrying Behnken and Hurley to the International Space Station. They will be the first astronauts launched from U.S. soil since 2011.
The Demo-2 mission marks a new era of human spaceflight. NASA describes as the final major step before the Commercial Crew Program certifies Crew Dragon for long-duration missions to the space station.
We will provide live coverage throughout the day as NASA and SpaceX attempt the historic crewed launch again. Our coverage starts at 12 p.m. ET.