KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – Vanishing into the bad weather Friday, it was tough to see a Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule still waiting to fly four astronauts to the International Space Station.
Because of the weather, NASA and SpaceX met to decide if the last Commercial Crew astronauts who launched at pad 39A will come home before Crew-3 gets to fly.
NASA said Friday night the earliest Crew-2 would return to Earth is Monday, Nov. 8 at 7:14 a.m. The Crew Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to unlock from the station on Sunday, Nov. 7 at 1:05 p.m.
Crew-2 has been on the station since April, nearing the end of their Dragon’s 210-day certification for spaceflight.
‘’We don’t know exactly when we’re going to come back home, but one can say for sure it will be sooner rather than later,’’ Crew-2 mission specialist Thomas Pesquest said onboard the station Friday.
The forecast for the splashdown off Florida’s coast zone looks good.
Crew-3 could then have an opportunity to launch next week. NASA is targeting the launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket no earlier than 9:03 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 10, which schedules it to dock the next day.
‘’Flying along that track, they need good weather. And if they cannot safely recover the astronauts in case of an emergency abort, they will scrub,’’ Space UpClose blogger Dr. Ken Kremer said.
NASA said if the weather was not an issue, it would prefer to bring the Crew-2 astronauts home after Crew-3 gets to the station.
That would give the outgoing crew time to familiarize their replacements with life in space.
‘’If we’re all here when they got here, obviously we would have more coverage and be able to give different ideas,’’ Crew-2 Commander Shane Kimbrough said. ‘’Little things that we don’t get trained on, like eating and going to the bathroom and sleeping and those kind of little tidbits that we would pass on to the next crew if they were here,’’ the astronaut continued.