As SpaceX works with NASA to launch its Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission, the historic event has been slightly delayed. Wednesday’s flight was scrubbed until Saturday due to three weather conditions that violated a favorable launch. Although the weather would have cleared up in 10 minutes, NASA shared, today’s event needed to be an instantaneous launch in order for the craft to reach the International Space Station. Read on for a countdown to the next launch and more details about what happened.
The Launch Is Now Happening Saturday Afternoon
The Saturday, May 30 launch will take place at 3:22 p.m. Eastern (19:22 UTC.) In different time zones, that is:
- 3:22 p.m. Eastern
- 2:22 p.m. Central
- 1:22 p.m. Mountain
- 12:22 p.m. Pacific
For other parts of the world, you can see a full list of the launch time in different locations all around the world here.
You can see a countdown to the next launch below, set for 3:22 p.m. Eastern on Saturday. If the countdown below does not show up in your browser, you can view it here.
If Saturday has to be scrubbed too, then the next backup is Sunday, May 31 at 3 p.m. Eastern.
This is the first human flight to space from the Kennedy Space Center in nine years, NASA shared. This is also the final step before NASA certifies the Crew Dragon for long-duration missions to the space station. The Crew Dragon will dock with the International Space Station after the launch, with a return date to be decided.
The clock was held on Wednesday at about T-16 minutes.
Three Weather Violations Forced Wednesday’s Scrub
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 27, 2020
Three rules were violated forcing officials to scrub the launch, NASA shared. A NASA representative said on the live stream that these conditions were natural lightning, the field mills, and the attached anvil.
WTSP reported earlier in the day that launches won’t happen within 10 nautical miles of an attached thunderstorm anvil cloud unless other criteria can be met and launches won’t occur within 10 miles of a detached thunderstorm anvil cloud either. WTSP also noted that launches won’t happen for 15 minutes “if field mill instrument readings within five nautical miles of the launch pad exceed +/- 1,500 volts per meter, or +/- 1,000 volts per meter if specified criteria can be met.”
One official on the NASA live stream joked just before the scrub that if they could only have 10 additional minutes then the weather might have cleared up. Sadly, this was not the case today because SpaceX needed an instantaneous launch and the launch could not be delayed until the weather cleared up. Sometimes a launch may have a four-hour window or so, allowing for more flexibility, but that was not the case on Wednesday.
You can rewatch everything that happened in the video below from NASA.
NASA officials later shared that delaying even a few minutes would have left the International Space Station in the wrong position for docking with the Crew Dragon. Although the weather would have cleared in 10 minutes, today was an “instantaneous launch” due to necessary orbital mechanics that would allow the spacecraft to get to the space station on time.
NASA assured online viewers that scrubbing a launch is standard procedure.
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