What just happened? We might be able to control a lot of things, but the weather isn’t one of them. Yesterday, SpaceX’s plan to carry two astronauts on board the Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station was canceled just 17 minutes before launch. It wasn’t technical or crew problems that stopped the take-off, but severe weather over the Florida launch site.
The teams from SpaceX and NASA decided the risk to equipment posed by thunderstorms over the Falcon Rocket 9’s Cape Canaveral site was too great. Officials said that if the launch could have waited ten minutes after countdown, a take-off would have been possible.
The Demo-2 mission is now set to take place this Saturday, May 30, at 3:22PM ET. Hopefully, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will make it into space on the second attempt.
“We are not going to launch today.”
— NASA (@NASA) May 27, 2020
Apart from the weather, everything else went smoothly. “It was a great day for NASA. It was a great day for SpaceX. I think our teams worked together in a really impressive way, making good decisions all along,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
Donald Trump, currently in the middle of a spat with Twitter, was due to give a speech at the Kennedy Space Center, but this was scrapped due to the canceled launch. As he flew back to Washington on Air Force One, the President tweeted that he’d return to Florida for the Saturday launch.
During coverage of the launch, Bridenstine said the mission was an important step toward commercial space travel. “I think everybody recognizes we have to commercialize space. We’ve had success now with commercial resupply of the International Space Station. Now, we’ve got commercial crew to the International Space Station. Eventually, we need commercial space stations.”
Image credit: Ben Cooper/SpaceX