Elon Musk’s company SpaceX was poised to launch its groundbreaking spaceflight mission with NASA on Wednesday before the liftoff was called off with just 17 minutes left on the clock thanks to the bad weather. The Crew Dragon capsule launch is now scheduled to go ahead on Saturday, May 30 at 3.22pm EDT – weather conditions dependent, of course.
But the first crewed spaceflight to take off from US soil in nine years is looking touch and go again today.
The weather forecast for Florida, where the rocket is due to take off from the Kennedy Space Centre, is likely similar to Wednesday, at its just 50/50 that today’s rescheduled launch will go ahead.
Dr Marco Langbroek tweeted: “So, another launch attempt of the @SpaceX #CrewDragon tonight 30 May at 19:22 UT (21:22 CEST).
“If the weather doesn’t interfere, because it is again not looking very positive.”
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The 45th Weather Squadron, a team of Air Force meteorologists, warned today that clouds and thunderstorms mean there is a chance this second attempt could be delayed again.
By Saturday afternoon, the forecast says skies are “mostly cloudy” with a 70 percent chance of precipitation.
The forecast also notes “Strong winds possible” and although the report says there’s no chance of “severe weather”, there’s plenty enough going on to delay the launch again.
CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said: “Saturday and Sunday could turn out to have very similar weather as Wednesday did.
“We may be waiting on a game-time decision again this weekend.”
Cape Canaveral’s weather forecast predicts the launch could be hit by winds and rain tonight.
CBS 12 meteorologist Chris Farrell said: “There is a front moving towards us now, one more day of east-south-east winds and that will keep the showers and storms inland on Friday afternoon.
“But as [a new front] approaches this weekend that will turn the wind back to the west which will give us a better chance of showers on Saturday and Sunday, and could affect the launch again.
“Saturday starts nice and sunny, but the front coming into central Florida will see little showers and storms around Cape Canaveral on Saturday afternoon.
“Right now it’s about a 50/50 chance it goes off – there are going to be some showers and storms around between 4pm and 6pm so it may be a no-go.”
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Lightning is one of the biggest concerns for today’s planned launch – the 45th Weather Squadron say there’s a 60 percent chance of lightning this afternoon.
News12 forecaster Geoff Bansen also warned it’s not looking good for today’s plans.
He tweeted: “All eyes are on this afternoon’s weather as @SpaceX reattempts its rocket launch.
“Skies are clear this morning but a lingering front aided by onshore winds will produce pop-up showers/storms later on. Some models have this occurring right over @NASAKennedy!”
Accuweather warned rain and lightning were the primary weather concerns this evening.
The forecaster said: “Even if the weather at the launch pad is clear for launch on Saturday afternoon, bad weather downrange can force the mission to be postponed again.
“If the crew has to abort the mission shortly after takeoff, the astronauts need to be able to safely splash down in the Atlantic Ocean and wait for recovery crews to arrive. This cannot be done safely if there is stormy weather or rough seas.”
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