This image shows a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad at Launch Complex as preparations continue for the Crew-2 mission on Thursday. NASA/AFP
The company's Crew Dragon capsule, the Endeavour, was set for liftoff atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 5:49 a.m. Eastern time (0949 GMT) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The nearly 24-hour ride to the space station, which orbits some 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, had been set to begin on Thursday but was delayed for a day by unfavorable weather forecasts along the rocket's flight path.
Friday's four-member Crew 2 team consists of two NASA astronauts.
For the rescheduled launch window on Friday, meteorologists predicted a 90% chance of favorable weather at the launch site, with improving conditions along the flight path.
The mission marks the second "operational" space station team to be launched by NASA aboard a Dragon Crew capsule since the United States resumed flying astronauts into space from U.S. soil last year, following a nine-year hiatus at the end of the U.S. space shuttle program in 2011.
It is also the third crewed flight launched to into orbit under NASA's fledgling public-private partnership with SpaceX, the rocket company founded and owned by billionaire high-tech entrepreneur Elon Musk. The first was an out-and-back test mission carrying just two astronauts into orbit last May.
Friday's four-member Crew 2 team consists of two NASA astronauts — mission commander Shane Kimbrough, 53, and pilot Megan McArthur, 49, — along with Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, 52, and fellow mission specialist Thomas Pesquet, 43, a French engineer of the European Space Agency.
"There's nothing like it when you look out the window and see a spaceship getting prepared and realize that you're going to be riding on it in a few days," McArthur said at a news briefing just after arriving at Kennedy Space Center last week.
The cluster of 60 satellites separated successfully from a Falcon 9 rocket above the ocean between Australia and Antarctica an hour after its launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 9:19pm (0219 GMT Tuesday).
High winds and choppy seas in the area where the spacecraft was expected to splashdown on Saturday delayed the dramatic inflight test of the unmanned astronaut capsule to Sunday, with a longer six-hour launch window starting at 8am (EST).
Two veteran NASA astronauts were headed for the ISS on Saturday after Elon Musk's SpaceX became the first commercial company to launch a rocket carrying humans into orbit.
A Falcon rocket raced into the pre-dawn darkness, carrying a Dragon capsule with 5,500 pounds (2,500 kilograms) of goods. This recycled Dragon — which is making its second space trip — is due to arrive at the orbiting lab on Monday.
As India's deadly second wave of COVID-19 continues unabated and its total number of cases now stand at 21.49 million, with infections spreading from overcrowded cities to remote rural villages that are home to nearly 70% of the 1.3 billion population.
Misneach, the dog of Irish president, pawed at his owner vying for attention during an interview, a TikTok video showed.
Hopes that India's rampaging second wave of COVID-19 is peaking were set back on Thursday as record daily infections and deaths were reported and as the virus spread from cities to villages that were poorly equipped to cope.
The Delhi government, in association with a non-profit organisation, has kitted out more than a dozen autorickshaws with hand sanitisers and face masks, while oxygen cylinders are provided on a need basis. The service, which began officially on Tuesday, is free.