SpaceX and NASA’s historic launch of its crewed Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station planned for Wednesday has been postponed because of weather problems. The mission was scrubbed with 16 minutes, 54 seconds left on the countdown at Cape Canaveral, FL. They will try again with an instantaneous window on Saturday, May 30 at 3:22 PM ET.
Launch director Mike Taylor announced the scrub after what amounted to a great practice run, with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley already on board the Crew Dragon and liquid oxygen and fuel partially loaded for the first private, commercially built manned spaceflight in U.S. history.
Communications between the spacecraft and mission controls at Kennedy Space Center and at SpaceX in Hawthorne, CA suggested that if the window had been 10 minutes wider, the launch would have been possible. Potential lightning was cited as one of the three weather points that prevented the launch, which had a liftoff window that opened at 4:33 PM ET/1:33 PM PT.
If Saturday’s window fails, there is another one available on Sunday.
The event, marking the first U.S. manned spaceflight since the 2011 end of NASA’s Space Shuttle program, was being livestreamed and had the news networks at the ready to break in with live coverage. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were among the attendees in Florida.
Weather began to become an issue around 2:15 PM ET today, when there was a 50-50 chance of the launch going ahead thanks to an active tornado warning for the region that includes the launch site. There was also concern about thunderstorms.
But NASA tweeted as of 2:45 PM ET that “#LaunchAmerica is on” before the final call was made.
When it does launch, the Dragon spacecraft, designed to eventually carry private passengers into orbit, the ISS or beyond, is scheduled to dock with the ISS after a 17-hour flight.