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4 days till NASA sends 2 astronauts on SpaceX flight

NASA announced Friday that an exhaustive “flight readiness review” of Wednesday’s scheduled launch of a SpaceX rocket with two NASA astronauts aboard had determined that the mission could proceed.

The launch is now set for Wednesday at 4:33 p.m. from launchpad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

If all goes well, it would be the first launch of NASA astronauts to space from U.S. soil since the space shuttle program was retired nearly a decade ago, and it would be the first time a private company had boosted people to orbit.

“There are no significant issues, I am happy to report,” Steve Jurczyk, NASA’s associate administrator who chaired the review, told a news conference. “In the end, it was a very, very clean review.”

The review, which began Thursday and resumed Friday morning, was one of the last hurdles to be cleared before the launch. On Friday afternoon, SpaceX successfully fired the engines on the Falcon 9 rocket for a short test to ensure they were operating correctly. On Saturday, astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will suit up and go through the prelaunch procedures one last time. A final launch readiness review will be held on Monday.

The launch still could be delayed by weather or any number of last-minute mechanical glitches.