NASA astronauts’ wake-up delays returning from space station to SpaceX capsule | CNN Business

Sign up for CNN’s Wonder Theory science newsletter. Explore space with news about fascinating discoveries, scientific advances, and more. CNN — The four astronauts are set to return home from the International Space Station this week to wrap up their nearly six-month space mission, but bad weather at the crew’s splashdown site has forced delays. NASA’s Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, and Jessica Watkins, and European Space Agency’s Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti opened the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule on Thursday morning. It was supposed to depart from the space station. However, NASA was forced to cancel the departure due to bad weather on Earth. Southern Florida is expected to be affected by a thunderstorm on Thursday afternoon. The storm is expected to continue moving south as more parts of Florida clear up tomorrow, but winds will get stronger along the northern Gulf coast, according to CNN meteorologist Monica Garrett. NASA and SpaceX are currently evaluating other potential undock opportunities. According to a live stream spokesperson for NASA, the next potential departure time for the crew is Friday 11:35 a.m. EST. Forced weather delays for spacecraft launches or return from the ISS are very common, especially when unpredictable storms hit the splashdown sites off the Florida coast. The crew dragon spacecraft that will take astronauts home typically has seven potential landing zones in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico off the coasts of Pensacola, Tampa, Tallahassee, Panama City, Cape Canaveral, Daytona and Jacksonville. It’s not yet clear which splashdown sites NASA and SpaceX are targeting on Friday. Dubbed Crew-4, it became a historic first mission on the ISS. Because Jessica Watkins became the first black woman to join the space station crew for her extended stay. More than a dozen black Americans, including five black women, have traveled to space since Guion Bluford’s first space trip in 1983. The ISS has housed more than 250 astronauts since 2000, but previously black women had never had a chance to live. And so far I have been working in space for a long time. Aerospace company SpaceX has won a $2.6 billion contract with NASA to develop the Crew Dragon spacecraft as part of the Commercial Crew Program. The idea behind this program was to move NASA into a customer role. This meant that private companies could design, build, and test new spacecraft to service NASA astronauts while still giving ownership to the company. For nearly a decade after NASA’s Space Shuttle program ended in 2011, the United States has had to rely on purchasing seats for the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to get astronauts to and from the ISS. SpaceX renewed its orbital human spaceflight capability on American soil by launching the Demo-2 mission that took two NASA astronauts to the space station in 2020. Crew-4 is the fifth flight SpaceX has performed as part of a NASA partnership, and the space agency has continued to purchase additional flights from a company led by founder and CEO Elon Musk. The return of the Crew-4 astronauts to Earth takes place less than a week after the Crew-5 astronauts arrived in a separate SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule. Both mission teams have had a brief handoff period over the past few days to ensure a smooth transition between crew members. NASA officials continued to expand the agency’s partnership with SpaceX, increasing the value of the overall transaction to include a total of 15 manned missions with a value of over $4.9 billion. However, SpaceX retains ownership of the vehicle as it developed the Crew Dragon under a fixed-price commercial contract. This means that privately held companies can sell their seats to anyone they want. SpaceX has already done two Crew Dragon missions entirely funded by wealthy thrill-seekers. And future personal missions are underway.

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