Just 17 minutes before its planned launch, SpaceX postponed its first crewed flight to space on Wednesday afternoon due to bad weather over the launch site in Florida. The two passengers on board SpaceX’s capsule — NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley — will try again on Saturday, May 30th.
“Not quite going to make it for this,” one person said over the mission control audio leading up to the flight.
“Unfortunately, we’re not going to launch today.”
The biggest concern for SpaceX was electrified clouds in the area around Cape Canaveral, Florida, where the company’s Falcon 9 rocket is meant to take off. Electrified clouds are particularly dangerous for a launch. If a rocket flies close enough, lightning could strike the vehicle, causing damage that could harm the mission. Mission controllers predicted that the weather would have cleared up 10 minutes after launch. However, the weather just wasn’t cooperating during the planned launch time of 4:33PM ET.
Mission control gave the astronauts the bad news. “Unfortunately, we’re not going to launch today,” one engineer told the crew. “It was a great effort by the team, and we understand, and we’ll meet you there,” Hurley said in response.
SpaceX will now try again to launch Behnken and Hurley at 3:22PM ET on Saturday. NASA and SpaceX’s coverage will begin at 11AM ET.