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Airborne Unlimited-12.02.22

Wed, Oct 05, 2022

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 Mission Gets Green Light

Space Bound and Down

A SpaceX Crew-Dragon capsule dubbed Endurance currently sits atop one of its maker’s Falcon-9 rockets at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, pointed heavenward like some towering, neoclassical Babe Ruth calling his shot to a spellbound world.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission has been greenlit. Liftoff is slated for noon EDT on Wednesday, 5 October from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A. Endurance will carry two NASA astronauts—Mission Commander Nicole Aunapu Mann and Pilot Josh Cassada—along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, who will serve as mission specialists, to the International Space Station.

Weather officials with Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s 45th Weather Squadron predict a ninety-percent chance of favorable weather conditions for the launch, with the cumulus cloud, and flight through precipitation rules being the primary, if not overly serious, weather concerns.

The cumulus cloud rule states: Do not launch within ten-nautical-miles of cumulus clouds with tops that extend into freezing temperatures, unless specific height-associated distance criteria can be met. The flight through precipitation rule states: Do not launch within five-nautical-miles of disturbed weather clouds that extend into freezing temperatures and contain moderate or greater precipitation, unless specific time-associated distance criteria can be met. A similar rule exists for anvil clouds, and states: Do not launch within ten-nautical-miles of an attached thunderstorm anvil cloud, unless temperature and time-associated distance criteria can be met.

Upon docking with the International Space Station, Endurance will be secured, and NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins, along with ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti—who have been living aboard the ISS since 27 April 2022—will help their Crew-5 replacements adjust to life on the station. Once the newcomers are squared-away, the homebound astronauts will embark the SpaceX Dragon capsule Freedom, and return to Earth via freefall, fire, fury, and finally a gentle parachute splashdown off the coast of Florida.

Members of the public may register to attend the Crew-5 launch virtually. The virtual guest program includes curated launch resources, timely mission updates, and a virtual guest passport stamp following a successful launch.

The NASA SpaceX Crew-5 launch broadcast will begin on NASA Television at 08:30 EDT on Wednesday, 5 October, and be carried on the agency’s website, as well as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, Daily Motion, Theta.TV, and NASA’s App.



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