NASA & SpaceX Delay Historic Launch Due to Weather. Here's What Happens Now.
The space agency will reattempt the launch this weekend.
NASA was gearing up for a historic crewed launch from US soil on Wednesday, but with a storm system along Florida's eastern coast -- where the launch was set to take place at 4:33pm -- the SpaceX Crew Dragon was forced to delay takeoff.
NASA officials made the final call minutes before the scheduled launch. And while weather conditions appeared 60% favorable earlier in the day, the space agency is now looking to Saturday, May 30, at 3:21pm as the backup launch time. Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will attempt to rocket up into orbit then, though Sunday afternoon is also being held as an alternate in the case of another weather delay.
The weather in Florida wasn't the only cause for concern, however. The Dragon Crew's route to orbit is also a factor. In order to launch, officials have to ensure calm waves and wind up the US and Canadian coasts, as well as across the North Atlantic to Ireland, so that Hurley and Behnken could make a safe emergency landing should they need.
Standing down from launch today due to unfavorable weather in the flight path. Our next launch opportunity is Saturday, May 30 at 3:22 p.m. EDT, or 19:22 UTC— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 27, 2020
While in years past, similar launches have drawn major crowds, NASA is asking spectators to stay home this year.
"The challenge that we’re up against right now is we want to keep everybody safe," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said during a press conference, The Associated Press reports. "And so we’re asking people not to travel to the Kennedy Space Center, and I will tell you that makes me sad to even say it. Boy, I wish we could make this into something really spectacular."
Luckily, you can still stream the event on NASA TV or via YouTube.