Stormy weather puts a damper on SpaceX’s 1st astronaut 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.


Stormy weather is threatening to delay SpaceX’s first astronaut launch.

A SpaceX rocket is scheduled to blast off on Wednesday afternoon from Kennedy Space Center, carrying a Dragon capsule with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken onboard to the International Space Station. It will be the first time astronauts launch from Florida in nearly ten years and a first for the private company.

The manager of NASA’s commercial crew program, Kathy Lueders, said everything was progressing well — at least on the ground.

“Now the only thing we need to do is figure out how to control the weather,” she said. “We’re continuing to be vigilant and careful and make sure we do this right.”

RELATED: 60 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for SpaceX manned mission on Wednesday

Forecasters put the odds of acceptable launch weather at 60 percent. But that doesn’t include the conditions all the way up the U.S. and Canadian coasts and across the sea to Ireland — a complicated mix of measurements unique to the Dragon crew capsule.

The Dragon’s emergency escape system can kick in, if necessary, all the way to orbit. If that happens, the capsule will need relatively calm wind and seas in which to splashdown. 

SpaceX will have at least two recovery ships deployed off of Florida and NASA will have two military cargo planes ready to take off. Additional planes will be stationed in New York and England to assist with a potential water rescue, according to Lueders.

SPACE COAST UPDATES: Click here for latest news and updates on the SpaceX manned mission 

Hans Koenigsmann, a Vice President for SpaceX, said the launch control team will incorporate global weather patterns and models to determine whether it’s safe to launch.

“If the weather gods are working with us,” he said, liftoff will occur at 4:33 p.m. SpaceX has a split-second launch window. 

The good news is that the tropical weather headed toward Cape Canaveral should be gone in a couple of days, with conditions also improving up the eastern seaboard later in the week.

If the weather does not cooperate or if there is another reason for a delay, there are two backup launch dates on Saturday and Sunday.

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When the launch happens, you can watch it live on FOX 35 Orlando. If it happens on Wednesday, special coverage will begin on Good Day Orlando from 4 to 10 a.m. Then at 4 p.m., FOX 35 Orlando will go live from Cape Canaveral to capture the historic liftoff.

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