The launch of the SpaceX rocket, with two US astronauts aboard, did not take place on Wednesday in Florida due to the stormy weather. The event, described as historic, is postponed to Saturday.
Following the excitement, the first manned flight from the US company SpaceX was postponed from Wednesday 27 May to Saturday 30 May due to bad weather. Until the last minute, however, two NASA astronauts were installed in the canister at the top of the rocket that would take them to the International Space Station (ISS).
“Dragon, SpaceX: Unfortunately, we will not launch today,” the SpaceX launch director at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida announced to astronauts aboard the Crew Dragon, 17 minutes before scheduled start time.
“It was a great team effort, we understand,” said astronaut Doug Hurley, who had been inside for two hours, sitting in his seat next to teammate Bob Behnken, on top of a Falcon 9 rocket. The two men should have docked at the ISS on Thursday.
Too high risk
It took ten minutes for the bad weather to spread, according to SpaceX, but the risk of rain and lightning was too great, and the sliding window, 4:33 p.m., was strict to coordinate Dragon’s trajectory with the ISS. The next attempt will be made at 3:22 Saturday (9:22 p.m. in France).
“Everyone is certainly a little disappointed,” Doug Hurley said later, sympathizing with the ground team, which has been waiting for this moment for years. President Donald Trump had personally witnessed what NASA calls the dawn for a new space flight.
This step is the execution of 18 years of efforts for SpaceX. “It’s a dream, I never thought it would ever happen,” said Elon Musk, who founded the company in 2002 in California, prior to the planned launch.
Before boarding the capsule, the astronauts could say goodbye to their families. To his two young sons, Elon Musk promised: “We have done everything we can to get your dads back.”
Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley had been quarantined for two weeks. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the flight was maintained and tourists and enthusiasts settled on the beaches of Florida’s coast.
Crew Dragon’s mission is to drive over the ISS, 400 km above sea level, where it can remain moored until August. If the capsule returns and is certified safe, Americans will no longer have to depend on the Russians to gain access to space: Since 2011, Soyuz was the only available space taxi. Routes from Florida will be regular, with four astronauts on board. And SpaceX will be free to organize space travel for tourists, for a ticket that will probably cost a few tens of millions of dollars instead.