News came in that the SpaceX launch was postponed until Saturday due to bad weather conditions, specifically thunderstorms. A tropical depression brought storms to the lower half of the East Coast, thus there were fears that the lightning would be too close.
Before the delay, the Air Force’s 45th Space Wing, which oversees space launch operations across the east coast, forecasted a 50 percent chance that clouds and stormy weather would violate the established launch safety guidelines. The Space Wing stated that precipitation and cloud coverage were primary concerns for the ship’s launch in the first place.
Sources from the AccuWeather Astronomy state that there was a tornado warning issued just north of the Kennedy Space Center that expired at 2:15 p.m. ET but did not include the SpaceX launch area.
Due to the weather delay, the SpaceX launch will be rescheduled to Saturday, at 3:22 p.m. ET, with the chances of good weather increasing. The Air Force’s 45th Space Wing is forecasting a 40 percent chance that the weather violates launch safety guidelines on Saturday, May 30.
The crew manning the Falcon 9 ship is set to conduct a test flight to the International Space Station. Despite the delay, the launch will mark the first time since 2011 when NASA retired its space shuttle fleet that humans have entered orbit from U.S. soil. It will also mark the first time that NASA astronauts will fly to the space station on a commercially built aircraft, according to Newsweek.
“Our country has been through a lot,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Tuesday in a news briefing. “But this is a unique moment when all of America can take a moment and look at our country do something stunning again, and that is to launch American astronauts on an American rocket from American soil to the space station.”
Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will be the two men aboard the ship and after launch, they will spend approximately 19 hours orbiting earth before their rendezvous with the space station.
For the past six years, SpaceX, which is under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, has built and tested their Dragon capsule. SpaceX has launched unmanned ships to deliver supplies to the space station, but this will be the first time SpaceX launches a ship into orbit with humans aboard.