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Watch: Syracuse native to liftoff to International Space Station

(Oct. 15, 2023) --- NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-8 Mission Specialist Jeanette Epps participates in preflight mission training at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
SpaceX
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SpaceX / NASA
(Oct. 15, 2023) --- NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-8 Mission Specialist Jeanette Epps participates in preflight mission training at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

Update 7:00 p.m. Sunday

SpaceX says there is at least a 75% chance of launch Sunday, with liftoff scheduled for 10:53 p.m. Watch launch coverage below.

Update 8:30 p.m. Saturday

NASA and SpaceX have again postponed the launch of Crew-8, including Syracuse native Jeanette Epps, due to weather.

Epps and the rest of the crew had their space suits on and were preparing to head to the launch pad when the launch was scrubbed.

The next launch opportunity is Sunday night at 10:53 p.m.

According to Florida Today, the weather forecast "shows the chance of favorable launch conditions jump up to 75% on Sunday night."

Original story

Syracuse-native NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps is set to head to space Saturday night where she'll live on the International Space Station for six months.

The launch for the Space-X Crew-8 mission is set for 11:16 p.m. Epps is serving as the mission specialist on the launch.

"I think as a crew, each person brings their own strength to the crew and, you know, the contributions that each one makes has made all the training events almost seamless," Epps said. "So we've been pretty gelling from the beginning."

NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps, mission specialist of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission, is suited up to participate in a Crew Equipment Interface Test (CEIT) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Friday, Jan. 12, 2024. During the CEIT, the astronauts practice launch and docking in a high-fidelity simulator and getting into position inside SpaceX’s Dragon capsule. As part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, Crew-8 marks the ninth human spaceflight mission supported by a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and the eighth crew rotation mission to International Space Station. Crew-8 will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida no earlier than mid-February 2024.
NASA
NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps, mission specialist of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission, is suited up to participate in a Crew Equipment Interface Test (CEIT) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Friday, Jan. 12, 2024. During the CEIT, the astronauts practice launch and docking in a high-fidelity simulator and getting into position inside SpaceX’s Dragon capsule. As part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, Crew-8 marks the ninth human spaceflight mission supported by a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and the eighth crew rotation mission to International Space Station. Crew-8 will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida no earlier than mid-February 2024.

The Crew-8 mission will study the long-term effects of living in space. Epps was originally set to go to space for the first time in 2018 but the crew lineup changed. She continued training and working toward her goal of getting to the space station.

"Any launch is a great launch if you have a mission," Epps said. "Even though you're the last, it doesn't matter. You get that launch, you get the mission and you go and, you know, they always save the best for last."

Poor weather delayed the launch from shortly after midnight Friday to Saturday. If the weather does not cooperate on Saturday, the next chance for the launch would be Sunday evening.

Ava Pukatch joined the WRVO news team in September 2022. She previously reported for WCHL in Chapel Hill, NC and earned a degree in Journalism and Media from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Ava was a Stembler Scholar and a reporter and producer for the award-winning UNC Hussman broadcast Carolina Connection. In her free time, Ava enjoys theatre, coffee and cheering on Tar Heel sports. Find her on Twitter @apukatch.
Jason has served as WRVO's news director in some capacity since August 2017. As news director, Jason produces hourly newscasts, and helps direct local news coverage and special programming. Before that, Jason hosted Morning Edition on WRVO from 2009-2019. Jason came to WRVO in January of 2008 as a producer/reporter. Before that, he spent two years as an anchor/reporter at WSYR Radio in Syracuse.