NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley were set to head to space Wednesday, making history in several ways, however, due to threatening weather, their launch has been delayed until Saturday. The two are set to launch from Florida as they fly the SpaceX Falcon 9 as Crew Dragon, where they will board the International Space Station. The morning of the initial launch time, SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted out a beautiful time-lapse titling it "Dragon Dawn."
SpaceX's Crew Dragon is very different from its predecessor, the Space Shuttle. Crew Dragon is a smaller capsule that launches from on top of a rocket, whereas Space Shuttle relied on rocket boosters strapped to a giant winged spacecraft to carry the astronauts into space. With any mission comes risk, and Musk is fully aware of that and told CBS that if something goes wrong, he will take the blame. "I'm the chief engineer," Musk explained. "So I'd just like to say if it goes right, it's credit to the SpaceX/NASA team. If it goes wrong, it's my fault." The historic launch will be the first of many. It will be the first time a commercial company will carry people to space. It will also mark the first time astronauts have launched from U.S. soil to the ISS since NASA retired the Space Shuttle Program in 2011; the first-ever crewed mission for SpaceX; and the first time since 1981 that a NASA astronaut will be carried on board of a newly-designed spacecraft.
Dragon Dawn pic.twitter.com/mz1EzU5GSO— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 26, 2020
"Thousands of things that can go wrong, and only one thing that can go right," Musk highlighted just ahead of the new launch. However, reports have stated both Behnken and Hurley have remained calm, understanding the risks, as both have been to space before. "You're more of a monitor of all the systems, and you're not using all your brainpower to actually fly the vehicle," Hurley explained of Crew Dragon's self-flying capabilities. "The vehicle has manual capability in several phases, and we will certainly test that out." Hurley further explained that while there are risks involved despite how many times they've trained for this one moment, he did reassure by saying this time is "probably no different than any other spaceflight." The two take it on like any other day, meaning they're staying focused on getting there safely. "We take it on...just like anything else," Hurley told CNN. [We'll] probably do a lot more thinking about it when we get back."