Groundbreaking scientists track weather ahead of launch

SpaceX has scrubbed Wednesday afternoon's manned launch after unfavorable weather conditions continued throughout the entire day. 

SpaceX will try again on Saturday at 3:22 p.m. EDT.


As two men prepare to launch into space this week, four women are on the ground, watching the weather.

Cassie Leahy, Krizia Negrón, Jessie Smith, and Melissa Watson are meteorologists with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Melbourne, Florida. The NWS is the official government agency that releases severe weather watches and warnings, providing vital information to the FOX 35 Weather Team during severe weather events.

Before every rocket launch, they're coordinating with emergency operations personnel in Brevard County.

"Everyone in the office feels this sense of responsibility and weight on their shoulders to make sure to get it right,” said Watson.

The journey to this office isn’t a walk in the park and takes lots of preparation.

“Physics 1 & 2, calculus, all the way up to Calculus 4 with ordinary differential equations…thermodynamics," Leahy explained.

Smith said that when she was a child, she wanted to be an astronaut.

"I keep thinking like, wow, this is really cool that now I live on the Space Coast and I have a direct connection to the launches at the Kennedy Space Center."

Now, these women are in positions to influence change.  Negrón, the lead meteorologist, is behind a national effort to translate life-saving severe weather information into Spanish.

“If you don’t really take a grasp of the information you’re getting, you might not take the right actions.  If you do, you may take them too late,” she said.

This is the first time in 30 years that there are four women on the team, a feat as historic as the manned launch itself.

"Just don’t be afraid to fail, and sometimes people are going to be really critical of your failures, and especially sometimes because you’re a woman, but just don’t let it get to you," Smith added. "Brush it off and know that you are doing your best. Don't be afraid of criticisms to your failures and see how you can learn and better yourself from that.”