Weather favorable for SpaceX launch with astronauts this weekend

Falcon 9 launch scheduled for 2:21 a.m. Sunday with Crew-3 astronauts

The latest forecast for SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch with NASA and European astronauts looks promising for liftoff this Sunday.

Elon Musk's company will launch the Crew-3 mission with three NASA astronauts and one European Space Agency astronaut from Kennedy Space Center at 2:21 a.m. on Halloween.

NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Kayla Barron and Tom Marshburn, and European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer arrived at KSC earlier this week ahead of the Falcon 9 rocket launch. After launch, the astronauts will spend about six months in orbit on the International Space Station. 

According to the most recent forecast from the 45th Weather Squadron, there is an 80% chance of favorable weather for the instantaneous launch time.

An area of low pressure is moving away from Florida, allowing cool and dry conditions to move in by Saturday afternoon. There is some concern cumulous clouds and rain could violate the launch weather constraints, but overall no rain or cloud development is expected near the launch site, according to the 45th Weather Squadron.

Around launch, at 2:21 a.m., liftoff winds will be between 10-15 mph, and the temperature will be approximately 68 degrees. It will be a lovely early morning for launch spectators along the Space Coast.

Some space fans arrived at Cape Canaveral's Jetty Park Friday to claim their viewing spot. The camping ground and beachfront park are famous for spectators to watch SpaceX and ULA launches. 

John Swanson has been coming out to Jetty Park for years and has seen at least a dozen launches through the space shuttle program and now commercial space.

"It’s like watching big fireworks going up into the sky. It really is impressive," he said. "To think about that there are actually people on this one." 

Swanson said he feels like a part of history sitting on the shoreline as the rocket launches over the water.

RVs, Airstream trailers and campers were already set up along the jetty waterfront by midday Friday.

Bob and Rena Ragsdale drove from South Carolina for the launch. Rena will turn 61 next month and said seeing a rocket launch in person is something she's been waiting to cross off her bucket list.

"I know I’m gonna cry, I know tears are going to come down my eyes. I’m very emotional about stuff like this, but I’ve been so excited," she said. "You just feel like you’re part of America, you’re part of the universe."

SpaceX's rocket boosters also float by the jetty on the way back into Port Canaveral. That has become a regular but still unique sight for beachgoers. SpaceX routinely lands its Falcon 9 rocket boosters on a drone ship at sea post liftoff. The boosters are refurbished and ready to fly again.

If Sunday's launch attempt scrubs, NASA and SpaceX have another opportunity on Wednesday at 1:10 a.m. The weather conditions are also at 80% favorable for the backup window.