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The Falcon 9 rocket with a Crew Dragon atop. Photo: SpaceX

SpaceX's attempt to launch NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken has been postponed due to weather. They could attempt to launch again as soon as Saturday.

Why it matters: If all goes well, the launch — now expected to happen at 3:22 p.m. ET on Saturday — will mark the first time a private company has successfully launched people to orbit and the first crewed, orbital rocket launch from the U.S. in 9 years.

The latest: SpaceX was proceeding toward launch until about 17 minutes before liftoff when the attempt was called off due to bad weather in the area.

What they're saying: On Wednesday, SpaceX founder Elon Musk admitted that he didn't necessarily think that SpaceX would get to this moment.

  • "I didn't even dream that this would come true," Musk said during a NASA TV interview.
  • Musk also said he spoke to the astronauts' families ahead of launch, telling them — "We've done everything we can to make sure your dads come back okay."

The big picture: This is SpaceX's final test flight ahead of being fully certified for operational missions to the space station.

  • This mission and those to come are expected to end NASA's reliance on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft for launches to the station, bringing back crewed, orbital launches to the U.S. for the first time since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Sep 1, 2020 - Science

Rocket scientist Tory Bruno's vision of the future

Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: NASA

United Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno believes humanity's push to explore the solar system could one day reduce poverty on Earth.

Why it matters: ULA is the workhorse of the space industry, with a high rate of success for the rockets it flies and big government and commercial contracts. It is well-positioned to one day act as the ride for companies and nations hoping to push farther into deep space.

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.