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NASA's SpaceX Crew-8 spacecraft rockets into orbit on its way to the International Space Station

NASA's SpaceX Crew-8 spacecraft rockets into orbit on its way to the International Space Station

Crew-8 launch summary: Scroll down for live coverage of the Sunday, March 3, Crew-8 liftoff aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center.

Welcome to FLORIDA TODAY's Space Team's live coverage of tonight's upcoming Crew-8 astronaut launch from Kennedy Space Center.

After Saturday night's scrub, the Crew-8 team is now targeting 10:53 PM EST to launch the SpaceX Falcon 9 astronauts' rocket to the International Space Station. The NASA TV launch broadcast is posted at the top of this page.

A post on NASA's blog said that the failed launch attempt that took place on Saturday evening was postponed “due to unfavorable conditions in the flight path of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon spacecraft.”

“The Crew-8 launch will carry NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick, Michael Barratt, and Janet Epps, as well as Roscosmos astronaut Alexander Grebenkin, to the orbiting laboratory. The target docking time is around 3 a.m. Tuesday,” the post read.

Update 11:02 PM: The Falcon 9 rocket's first stage booster has just touched down at SpaceX's Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station — generating double sonic booms at the Cape.

Update 10:53 PM: SpaceX and NASA launched the Falcon 9 rocket carrying Crew-8 from Kennedy Space Center.

Updated at 10:45 p.m.: During a briefing 10 minutes before takeoff, it was announced that the crew was confident they understood the problem of the hatch seal crack, and believed they could fly the entire mission safely.

Update 10:38 PM: Shortly after refueling began, an announcement was made: Teams were inspecting a small crack in a side hatch, which could become a problem during reentry into the atmosphere.

The countdown to the launch is still underway.

Updated at 10:30 p.m.: As a reminder, here's a list of major upcoming events in the countdown to the Falcon 9 launch.

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  • 10:46 PM Falcon 9 begins engine cooling before launch.
  • 10:48 PM The Dragon moves to Inner Strength.
  • 10:52 PM Flight computer command to begin final pre-launch checks.
  • 10:52 PM Fuel tank pressure begins to reach cruise pressure.
  • 10:52 PM SpaceX's launch director checks in on the launch.
  • 10:53 PM Falcon 9 takes off.

Update 10:19 PM: SpaceX announced that fueling procedures for the Falcon 9 rocket are now underway at Pad 39A, and that the Dragon spacecraft's escape system is ready.

Updated at 10 p.m.: “I've got a weather update. They've got another weather briefing — and now we're 90% ready,” NASA TV anchor Megan Cruz announced, just over an hour before tonight's countdown ended.

Brevard County Emergency Management officials have activated the agency's launch support team ahead of the upcoming Falcon 9 launch.

Crew farewell waves 8

Update 9:44 p.m.: About two hours ago, FLORIDA TODAY photographer/videographer Craig Bailey captured this photo of Crew-8 waving to members of the media outside NASA's Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building.

Update 9:21 p.m.: The crew has closed the hatch of the Dragon Endeavor capsule, and liftoff is scheduled for 2 hours and 32 minutes.

Update at 9pm: As a reminder, Crew-8's Falcon 9 was originally scheduled to launch to the International Space Station at 12:04 a.m. on Friday. However, high winds and sea waves along the Dragon Endeavour's flight path prompted the crew to postpone the mission to Saturday night.

But that Saturday night attempt was cancelled. The reason: strong winds along the capsule's ascent path, SpaceX said.

If tonight's launch attempt fails, the next backup opportunity is at 10:31pm Monday.

Update 8:38 p.m.: SpaceX reported that the crew seats had been rotated into position for liftoff, and a suit leak check and communications check had been completed.

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SpaceX said the Dragon Endeavor spacecraft has previously flown the Demo-2, Crew-2, Ax-1 and Crew-6 missions to and from the International Space Station – logging 466 days in orbit.

Update 8:15 p.m.: SpaceX officials have just announced that the weather odds for a “launch” have increased from the original forecast's 75% chance to 85%.

NASA TV highlighted launch forecasts showing precipitation and anvil clouds as primary meteorological concerns.

Update at 8 p.m.: NASA's SpaceX Crew-8 mission will be the 14th launch so far this year from KSC and the adjacent Cape Canaveral Space Station.

The Space Coast hosted 72 orbital launches last year, a record, and this year's pace is even faster.

Click here to view FLORIDA TODAY's summary of January launches.

Click here to view FLORIDA TODAY's summary of February launches.

Update 7:36 p.m.: Waving and smiling, the Crew-8 astronauts just exited NASA's Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building, greeted family and well-wishers, and boarded two black Tesla Model

Teslas carry black and white license tags that say YAYSP8C — or “yay space.”

Update 7:20 p.m.: Here is NASA's timeline of the “key milestones and critical events” leading up to tonight's liftoff. All times are approximate:

  • 7:33 PM The crew exits the Neil Armstrong Operations and Exit Building.
  • 7:38 PM Crew transfer to platform 39A.
  • 7:58 PM The crew arrives at the platform and climbs the tower.
  • 8:18 PM Crew entry.
  • 8:23 PM Checking communications.
  • 8:24 PM Seat rotation.
  • 8:25 PM Suit leak check.
  • 8:58 PM, hatch closed.
  • 10:08 PM SpaceX launch director checks propellant loading.
  • 10:11 PM The crew access lever is retracted.
  • 10:14 PM Dragon launch escape system has been prepared.
  • At 10:18 p.m., the RP-1 plane (kerosene used in rocket making) begins loading.
  • 10:18 PM The first stage of LOX (liquid oxygen) loading begins.
  • 10:46 PM Falcon 9 begins engine cooling before launch.
  • 10:48 PM The Dragon moves to Inner Strength.
  • 10:52 PM Flight computer command to begin final pre-launch checks.
  • 10:52 PM Fuel tank pressure begins to reach cruise pressure.
  • 10:52 PM SpaceX's launch director checks in on the launch.
  • 10:53 PM Falcon 9 takes off.
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Update 6:57 p.m.: Crew-8 wears spacesuits inside the “suit room” in NASA's Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout building.

“A team of SpaceX suit technicians will assist them as they don their specially fitted spacesuits and check for leaks. Designed for safety and functionality, the spacesuits provide compression, protect the crew from potential pressure drops, and connect a port on the thigh to support systems.” Life, including air and energy. The suits also include touchscreen-compatible gloves and a flame-resistant outer layer,” reads a post on NASA’s blog.

Crew 8 is:

  • NASA astronaut Matthew Dominic, Commander.
  • NASA astronaut Michael Barratt, pilot.
  • NASA astronaut Janet Epps, mission specialist.
  • Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin, mission specialist

For the latest news from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and NASA's Kennedy Space Center, visit floridatoday.com/space.

Rick Neil He is Florida Today's space correspondent (for more of his stories, click here.) Call Neale at 321-242-3638 or [email protected]. Twitter/X: @Rick Neal1

Space is important to us, which is why we work to provide the highest coverage of industry and launch operations in Florida. Such journalism requires time and resources. Please support him by subscribing here.