SpaceX is again making final preparations for its highly anticipated Demo-2 mission in partnership with NASA. The initial launch attempt on Wednesday was scrubbed just minutes before lift-off due to poor weather conditions at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The mission will mark the first crewed launch from U.S. soil in nearly a decade. It will also see astronauts riding aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft for the very first time, carrying NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station.
The next launch opportunity is at 3:22 p.m. E.T. on Saturday, May 30. But the current forecast isn’t promising, with unsettled weather remaining in the area.
In fact, Jonathan Belles, a meteorologist with weather.com, told Digital Trends that Saturday’s launch “isn’t all that likely to happen.”
“A sagging late-season cold front is expected to sink into northern Florida this weekend, bringing soupy air and thunderstorms to much of the peninsula during the afternoon,” Belles said.
Offering a glimmer of hope, the meteorologist said there’s “a small chance” that the storms will stay far enough away from the Kennedy Space Center to enable a safe launch, but cautioned: “As we saw with the first attempt, it does not have to be raining or even thundering at the launchpad to cause concern. It was canceled because there was too much electricity in the air left over by previous thunderstorms, and they were worried that the launch could set off a lightning strike.” This is something NASA chief Jim Bridenstine talked about after Wednesday’s launch effort was abandoned.
Belles also noted how conditions don’t just have to be suitable at the launch site, but also throughout the entire atmosphere and through the entire distance that the SpaceX rocket and crew capsule will climb over the Atlantic.
“It seems fairly unlikely that this launch trajectory will be completely void of rain because of that cold front, and this could also hamper launch efforts this weekend,” Belles told Digital Trends.
— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) May 28, 2020
Of course, conditions can change, but at the current time it seems likely the rocket will still be on the launchpad at the end of Saturday. If that happens, the next launch window is on Sunday, May 31 at 3 p.m. E.T.
In the meantime, why not find out more about why this mission is so special.
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- NASA aborted SpaceX mission because launch itself could have triggered lightning
- Will bad weather delay today’s SpaceX Crew Dragon test flight again?