It’s the first time Americans will launch from American soil since 2011.
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History is being made today as NASA and SpaceX gear up to launch Americans into space from American soil and on American equipment for the first time in nearly a decade.
The SpaceX Demo-2 launch is scheduled to liftoff at 4:33 p.m. ET from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Crew Dragon spacecraft, propelled by a Falcon 9 rocket, will carry NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station.
The launch is historic in part because it ends a nearly 10-yearlong U.S. dependency on Russia for seats to space. It also marks the first time Elon Musk’s private space firm, SpaceX, is launching astronauts.
Here is the latest on the milestone launch for the U.S. space program Wednesday. All times Eastern. Please refresh this page for updates.
2:10 p.m.: Astronauts wrap up communications check
After strapping into their seats, Behnken and Hurley did a series of communications checks from inside the spacecraft.
All systems appeared to be working and the astronauts could communicate clearly with the teams on the ground.
From inside the capsule, Hurley said they are “feeling great” ahead of the launch.
2:00 p.m.: Astronauts get strapped into the capsule
After giving “air hugs” to their friends and family, Behnken and Hurley strapped into their seats in the Crew Dragon.
Vice President Mike Pence, donned in a mask, also greeted the astronauts and their families as they headed into the Crew Dragon.
1:50 p.m.: Astronauts suit up and head to the launch pad
Behnken and Hurley suited up ahead of the launch, in the same room where the first crewed Apollo mission astronauts got into their gear.
“The suit is really one part of the bigger Dragon system, it’s really part of the vehicle,” Chris Trigg, SpaceX’s space suits and crew equipment manager said. “The suit and the seat are working together.”
The suits were designed by SpaceX’s team in California.
12:45 p.m.: Weather forecast for launch includes chance of showers, possible thunderstorms
The weather forecast ahead of the launch in Cape Canaveral, Florida, includes a chance of some showers, possible thunderstorms, and potentially, some electrically charged clouds.
Major weather concerns ahead of the launch are rain and lightning. Residual electrical charges from leftover thunderstorms might interact with the rocket which has a charge itself as it goes through the troposphere and can cause trigger lightning, according to ABC News’ chief meteorologist Ginger Zee.
As of Wednesday morning, the launch mission’s executive forecast predicted a 50% probability of violating weather constraints.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted just after noon on Wednesday that they will continue monitoring downrange weather, but are still proceeding towards a 4:33 p.m. launch.
“We are a go for launch!” Bridenstine wrote.