Weather scrubs SpaceX commercial crew launch

Falcon 9 before scrub

Launch director Mike Taylor told them he was monitoring a large collection of heavy clouds moving east from Orlando, that he said would be the "decision gate" for a final go-no go call before fuelling is set to begin about 3.45pm.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was due to lift off from the Kennedy Space Center at 4:33 p.m. ET (2033 GMT), launching Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on a 19-hour ride aboard the company's newly designed Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station.

"There wasn't really a lightning storm or anything like that, but there was a concern that if we did launch it could trigger lightning".

"We do the flight analysis assuming that the temperatures of the propellants are below a certain amount, so that we know how much performance is available to the rocket - how much margin we're going to have", SpaceX principal integration engineer John Insprucker said during Wednesday's launch webcast.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Wednesday morning that the weather appeared to be trending in the right direction.

Mr Bridenstine: "I know there's a lot of disappointment today, the weather got us". Hurley even posted a picture of his breakfast of steak and eggs before suiting up in SpaceX's white flight suits at the Kennedy Space Center's operations and checkout building.

The mission has proceeded despite shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with the crew in quarantine for the past two weeks.

Crew Dragon is a capsule like Apollo, but updated for the 21st century. They were then strapped into their Crew Dragon seats before the hatch was closed ahead of the planned takeoff.

The event, marking the first US 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.

Two years later, NASA ordered the next step: to transport its astronauts there, starting in 2017, by adapting the Dragon capsule.

The launch will be the Falcon 9 rocket's second spaceflight test, but its first with astronauts on board.

In a spaceship built by Elon Musk's California-based company SpaceX, astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will launch from Florida's Kennedy Space Centre at 9.33pm United Kingdom time. This resignation occurred just before SpaceX was sent to the astronauts from the USA.

Musk, the South African-born high-tech entrepreneur who made his fortune in Silicon Valley, is also the CEO of electric carmaker and battery manufacturer Tesla Inc.

Besides good weather at the launch site, SpaceX is counting on relatively calm waves and wind up the USA and Canadian seaboard and across the North Atlantic to Ireland, in case astronauts Hurley and Behnken need to make an emergency splashdown along the route to orbit.

Hurley, 53, and Behnken, 49, are NASA employees under contract to fly with SpaceX.

Crew Dragon will remain at the space station for an undetermined amount of time before taking Hurley and Behnken back to Earth.



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