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SpaceX and NASA give green light for Wednesday launch, despite bad weather Monday

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL – NASA and SpaceX officials have deemed Wednesday’s highly anticipated SpaceX Demo-2 launch a ‘Go’ as of Monday evening, despite windy rain and weather Monday.

“We had our final launch readiness review. We’re burning down the final paper and all teams were ‘Go,’” said NASA Commercial Crew Program Manager Kathy Lueders.

The SpaceX Demo-2 launch will be the first time NASA astronauts launch from American soil into orbit since the shuttle program was retired in 2011.

The Crew Dragon capsule will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Wednesday at 3:33 p.m. central time.

“The team reviewed the data over the weekend and reported back...No show stopper. Everything looking good,” said SpaceX Vice President Hans Koenigsmann.

Who are the Astronauts

Demo-2 Joint Operations Commander Bob Behnken and Spacecraft Commander Doug Hurley are leading the mission. On Monday, the duo completed a rehearsal of what they should expect Wednesday, which included taking a Telsa Model X to the launch site.

The two shuttle-era veterans will now test out the Crew Dragon capsule’s touch screen display and suits with one main objective: use and troubleshoot the vehicles’ operations for future crews.

Both astronauts logged more than 600 hours of space-time and training in Houston and Hawthorne, Calif., and are long-time colleagues. Hurley said they are best friends.

“NASA believes this is the best duo for the job,” he said.

Behnken said he was thankful to participate in the mission.

“I’m doing it with Doug Hurley because he’s going to be prepared for whatever comes our way,” Behnken said in a news conference.

Understanding the impact

The SpaceX Demo-2 mission is a meaningful one for the hundreds of people at NASA and SpaceX, which partnered to build SpaceX’s American-made vehicles: the Crew Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket.

“I can’t tell you how moving it was for me to see Bob and Doug get in the vehicles and ride out to the pad and realize that the next time would be ready to go to launch,” Lueders said.

Results were in from the static fire test Friday and the dry runs through from Saturday provided a glowing green light.

“Just dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s to make sure everything was ready to go, and it turned out very well,” said Johnson Space Control Deputy Director Norm Knight.

Officials plan to monitor the local weather conditions until launch day.

“We have a little bit more rain to go here and maybe a little bit more of afternoon thunderstorms...Tuesday afternoon looks like far less coverage. We have some hope for launch day," said Mike McAleenan, a Launch Weather Officer with 45th Weather Squadron.

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