The company’s newly designed Crew Dragon capsule, which the crew has dubbed Resilience, will launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The crew, consisting of one Japanese and three US astronauts, is set for liftoff atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 00.27 GMT, on a rocket and capsule system built by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s aerospace company.
The 27-hour ride to the space station, an orbiting laboratory some 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, was originally scheduled to begin on Saturday.
For Nasa, it marks the beginning of using private firms as a “taxi service” to fly its crew to and from the space station.
The launch was originally scheduled to take place early on Sunday morning. But after the final major review on Friday, Nasa and SpaceX agreed to delay the mission after Storm Etna “due to onshore winds and first stage booster recovery readiness”.
In the intervening years, U.S. astronauts have had to hitch rides into orbit aboard Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft.
The Resilience crew includes commander Mike Hopkins and two fellow NASA astronauts, mission pilot Victor Glover and physicist Shannon Walker.
They will joined by Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, making his third trip to space after previously flying on the U.S. shuttle in 2005 and Soyuz in 2009.
The SpaceX founder shared what he described as “bogus” findings from four rapid antigen tests on Twitter on Thursday evening.
Musk, the billionaire SpaceX chief executive who is also CEO of electric carmaker and battery manufacturer Tesla Inc TSLA.O, will likely not be watching the liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center launch control room as usual, NASA officials said.
SpaceX capsule departs International Space Station
SpaceX and NASA have conducted contact-tracing and determined that Musk had not come into contact with anyone who interacted with the astronauts.
“Our astronauts have been in quarantine for weeks, and they should not have had contact with anybody,” NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said on Friday. “They should be in good shape.”
NASA contracted SpaceX and Boeing in 2014 to develop competing space capsules aimed at replacing its shuttle program and weaning the United States from dependence on Russian rockets to send astronauts to space.
Here’s everything you need to know:
What time is the launch? How can I watch it?
The crew is now set to blast off from the Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida at 12:27am UK time on November 17, in a journey that is expected to last around nine hours.
It will be available to livestream on SpacesX’s website.
What will happen after lift-off?
Shortly after lift-off, the Falcon 9 rocket will separate into a first stage and a second stage.
The first stage will return to a SpaceX landing ship stationed off the coast of Florida, while the second part of the rocket continues the journey with the Crew Dragon.
Additional reporting by Reuters.