Florida doesn’t seem far from the International Space Station in this photo an orbiting astronaut snapped of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
But the journey will take nearly a day for veteran NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who hope to begin the trek today (May 30), weather permitting. The two astronauts will be tucked inside a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule for a milestone flight called Demo-2, the company’s first crewed mission to the space station.
And it’s their ride that’s shown to the right of a new image snapped by Russian cosmonaut Ivan Vagner, who has been living and working on the orbiting laboratory since April. He shared a photo he captured yesterday, May 29, of Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39.
You can watch SpaceX’s Demo-2 launch live here, courtesy of NASA TV.
“Waiting for you at the International @Space_Station!” he wrote to the NASA astronauts in a tweet shared early this morning. “We were flying over Cape Canaveral yesterday and I captured the legendary launching complex No. 39. Now the world’s first commercial crewed spacecraft #CrewDragon is about to launch.”
That complex includes two pads: On the left in the image is Launch Pad 39B, and on the right is Launch Pad 39A — currently host to the Demo-2 Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon, which are just visible in the photograph as a pinprick in the center of the pad.
A view from the top from @Astro_SEAL on the @Space_Station 2 minutes before #LaunchAmerica! pic.twitter.com/0JaSVIJtqEMay 30, 2020
Behnken and Hurley are scheduled to arrive at the launch pad today at 12:27 p.m. EDT (1627 GMT), clad in spacesuits and ready to launch at 3:22 p.m. EDT (1922 GMT).
But for that to happen, the weather needs to cooperate. On Wednesday (May 27), the astronauts were tucked inside the capsule when NASA and SpaceX scrubbed the launch just 20 minutes before liftoff due to three different weather concerns. And for today’s attempt, there’s only a 50% chance that weather will permit launch.
If NASA and SpaceX decide to postpone the launch, they’ll be able to try again tomorrow targeting a 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT) launch, when meteorologists predict weather conditions will improve slightly, with a 60% chance of permitting launch.
Additional backup windows are available on June 2 and 3, as well as later in the week.
Visit Space.com for complete coverage of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Demo-2 flight.
Editor’s note: This story was updated to include images taken two minutes before launch by NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy.