- The 207-foot-long Falcon 9 rocket was rolled out to the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center Friday
- The rocket is set to take four astronauts to the International Space Station at 6:11am on April 22
- SpaceX Crew-2 arrived at Kennedy Space Center on Friday as well to feast their eyes on the rocket
- NASA is addressing an issue with extra oxygen loading into the rocket's tanks, but does not seem worried
However, a backup window is set for April 23, with additional options on April 26 and 27SpaceX rolled its 207-foot-long Falcon 9 rocket to the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center, where it is set to take four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) April 22.
The target launch time from Launch Complex 39A is 6:11am ET, with the rocket reaching the ISS April 23 at 5:30am ET.
The enormous Falcon 9 was rolled to the site horizontally on a massive cart Friday, just a day after NASA and the Elon Musk-owned company received the official 'go' to proceed with the Crew-2 mission.The crew members, NASA's Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Space Agency's Thomas Pesquet, also arrived at the site today to watch the craft make the journey.
NASA says the rocket faces one technical glitch which has seen excess oxygen being loaded into the rocket's tanks. But engineers expect to be able to fix the issue before launch.
A backup window for the missions has been made available on April 23, with additional options on April 26 and 27.
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The Falcon 9 was rolled out of its horizontal integration facility at Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
SpaceX and NASA got the green light on Thursday to launch the rocket after the completion of a critical flight readiness review.
Engineers did discover a potential error, in which extra oxygen may be loading into the rocket's tanks, Space.com reported.
The Falcon 9 rockets use liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene as propellant.
'We reviewed that with the NASA team today, but we didn't have enough time to really go over all the data and look at all the consequences of what that could mean,' said Bill Gerstenmaier, SpaceX's vice president of build and flight reliability.
Gerstenmaier said that the agency was taking 'the extra step' to ensure the situation didn't pose a risk to the crew or vehicle.
The issue needs to be resolved by Saturday, though, when NASA conducts a 'static fire' test, in which the rocket engines are ignited while the vehicle remains on the ground.
A final launch readiness review is scheduled for April 20 and, if all goes well, Crew-2 will lift off at 6:11am Eastern Daylight Time on the morning of April 22.
The crew will board the same capsule, Endeavour, that carried NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to and from ISS last year for the Demo-2 test flight.
Kimbrough, Hoshide, Pesque and McArthur, who is married to Behnken, are slated to arrive at 5:30 am on April 23 and spend approximately six months aboard the orbiting station.
Their mission marks the first time in over 20 years that astronauts from NASA, JAXA and ESA have flown together.
The four will conduct research on health, medical technology and other fields, before returning some time in the fall.
They will overlap with some of the first astronauts sent up to the ISS on the first Crew Dragon spaceship in November 2020.
In February, an unmanned Falcon 9 rocket missed the landing pad and crashed into the water.
The rocket successfully deployed 60 Starlink internet satellites into orbit, but the booster missed the Of Course I Still Love You droneship in Port Canaveral upon its return and crashed into the ocean.
It was the rocket's sixth launch, and SpaceX director Benji Reed put the accident down to wear and tear.
'A little bit of a hole developed and allowed hot gases to be where they're not supposed to be and caused that engine to shut down,' he said.