SpaceX forced to cancel CRS-18 Falcon 9 rocket launch due to weather

SpaceX had to once again delay its latest Falcon 9 rocket launch on Wednesday, this time due to poor weather, delaying a planned supply run to the International Space Station.

Elon Musk’s private space company called off the launch just before 3:30 p.m. PT because of cloudy skies above Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. SpaceX’s team waited until almost the last possible second to abort the mission, announcing that it would scrub the launch with less than a minute before the scheduled launch at 3:24 p.m.

“Standing down today due to weather; backup launch opportunity is tomorrow at 6:01 p.m. EDT, 22:01 UTC,” SpaceX tweeted after scrubbing the mission.

The company had said that weather was “30% favorable” for the launch earlier on Wednesday morning.

“I notice plenty of humidity out there, but another thing we have to deal with is the direction of the steering flow, or where the winds in the atmosphere are going to steer those afternoon showers and thunderstorms,” U.S. Air Force weather officer Will Ulrich said during a pre-launch news conference Wednesday. “Today, we have winds that will concentrate the majority of today’s showers and thunderstorms near the spaceport.”

Officials had hoped for a break in the clouds as there had been earlier in the day, but didn’t have quite such good luck. The company now plans to try again on Thursday, though the forecast for the area calls for thunderstorms, which may delay the launch once again. The launch had previously been delayed from earlier in July.

SpaceX’s 20th Dragon spacecraft mission to the International Space Station will eventually bring 5,000 lbs of supplies to the ISS. The cargo includes a 3D printer that could someday “print” human organs and other supplies for ongoing experiments.

The past few months have been full of ups and downs for SpaceX. In June, the company managed to successfully launch its Falcon Heavy rocket at night, a feat that Musk called its “most difficult launch ever.” But the company also had to deal with its Starhopper rocket being engulfed in flames last week. Musk said there was no major damage caused by the fire.

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