CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Four astronauts climbed aboard a SpaceX rocket Sunday for a night ride to the International Space Station, although the prospects of good weather were just 50-50 and the company’s leader was sidelined by COVID-19.
Vice President Mike Pence was expected at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for the long-awaited start of regular crew rotations aboard privately owned and operated capsules. It also marked only the second time in nearly a decade that astronauts were set to rocket into orbit from the U.S.
“Game day!” NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins, the crew commander, tweeted before suiting up and heading to the launch pad in a Tesla Model X. The astronauts’ flashy white suits with black trim matched their rides, made by Elon Musk’s two main companies: SpaceX and Tesla.
Once seated in the Teslas, the astronauts exchanged high-fives and hand embraces with their children and spouses, who huddled