NASA tried to launch a U.S. astronaut from the U.S. mainland for the first time in nearly a decade, but the delay was announced Wednesday because of bad weather conditions. SpaceX’s Launch of the Dragon spacecraft was halted just minutes into the launch, forcing the space agency to push the launch back to Saturday. Now, as before, we can only hope that God gives face to make the launch go ahead as scheduled.
The weather at the launch site now looks much the same as it did before Wednesday’s launch, suggesting that, as before, we may decide at the last second whether to send SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft into the sky.
The launch will be broadcast live on a variety of platforms, including YouTube and NASA TV on Twitch. The streaming service is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. EST, but the actual launch will not take place until 3:22 p.m. EST.
If all goes well, we’ll see the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule. The spacecraft will be destined for the International Space Station, where it will transport NASA astronauts Robert Bainken and Douglas Hurley. The two will stay on the space station for weeks to months, depending on NASA’s further arrangements after their arrival.
In fact, SpaceX’s push for the first manned spacecraft launched from the U.S. mainland since the space shuttle era is a bit of a surprise, at least for those who like Boeing and its “starliner.” Nasa had previously hired the two companies to develop spacecraft that could carry crews, and it was widely believed that Boeing had better equipment to meet NASA’s requirements. But that didn’t happen… Not at all. Boeing has had a rough few years, and its recent unsuccessful move to send a Starliner to the International Space Station without a crew gives spaceX the chance to complete a manned mission first. At the same time, Boeing still needs to complete the unmanned mission before NASA will allow its astronauts to enter the “starliner” interior.
The mission is still likely to be postponed again, as the weather is still 100 per cent certain. If this happens, the backup launch window is Sunday, and if Saturday’s launch is called off, the backup window will be used, and NASA and SpaceX will have to go through the whole process again, hopefully not.
Scheduled launch: New York: 3:22PM / San Francisco: 12:22PM / London: 8:22PM / Berlin: 9:22PM / Moscow: 10:22PM / New Delhi: 12:52AM (May 31) / Beijing: 3:22AM (May 31) / Tokyo: 4:22 AM (May 31) / Melbourne: 5:53 AM