“I’m the chief engineer of this thing so I’d just like to say that if it goes right, it’s credit to the SpaceX-NASA team,” Musk said during an appearance on “CBS This Morning” just hours before the scheduled takeoff.
“If it goes wrong, it’s my fault,” he added, before noting: “Thousands of things that can go wrong, and only one thing that can go right.”
NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley are scheduled to fly in the Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station, a football field-sized compendium of segments and modules orbiting around Earth. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will propel the capsule in what will be the first manned space mission by a commercial company and the first human spaceflight from U.S. soil since 2011.
Musk, who also runs carmaker Tesla, said that the launch will be “the culmination of a dream.”
“In fact, it feels surreal. If you’d asked me when starting SpaceX if this would happen, I’d be like, ‘1 percent chance, 0.1 percent chance,” he said Wednesday morning.
Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 with the goal of drastically cutting the costs of traveling to space, with innovations including reusing as much equipment as possible.
NASA stopped building its own shuttles nearly 10 years ago and officials say they’re ready to be customers of private companies, with Musk’s business being the first example.
The instantaneous launch window is 4:33 p.m. from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Engineers and other experts are watching the weather closely, SpaceX said.
Besides the weather at the launch location, the company and NASA officials are monitoring conditions at dozens of sites designated for an unexpected emergency. Musk said on Twitter that the weather at those sites will play a part in determining whether the launch can happen.
Backup windows were identified on May 30 and May 31.
The chance of the right weather conditions increased to 60 percent Tuesday, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told reporters. That was an increase from the day before.
The Air Force’s 45th Space Wing, which helps manage any launches done on the East Coast, said in a forecast issued early Wednesday: “The primary concerns for launch are flight through precipitation, as well as the anvil and cumulus cloud rules associated with the afternoon convection.”
Officials forecast a 50 percent chance that inclement weather would block the May 27 window, with a 40 percent chance listed for both Saturday and Sunday.
Bridenstine said in a social media statement just after noon that “we are a go for launch!”
SpaceX and NASA “will continue monitoring liftoff and downrange weather as we step into the countdown,” he added.