SpaceX's historic launch was set to take place today. But, due to weather conditions, there has been a slight change in plans regarding the actual launch. Because of the conditions in the area around the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which is where the Crew Dragon was set to launch, liftoff has been officially delayed. At around 4:16 p.m. ET, the SpaceX launch director announced that the event would be delayed. The launch is now scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 30, at 3:22 p.m. ET.
Crew Dragon was initially set to launch at 4:33 p.m. ET from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. A day before the launch, the official SpaceX Twitter account touched upon the possible weather conditions for Wednesday. In their tweet, they wrote that they were doing additional pre-flight checkouts for Falcon 9, Crew Dragon, and the ground support system in advance of the launch. At the end of their message, they noted that the forecast for Wednesday purported that there was a 60% chance that the weather would be favorable. Unfortunately, weather conditions indeed got in the way of the space shuttle's planned launch.
Astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken are operating the spacecraft. As you've likely heard, SpaceX's launch of Crew Dragon is set to make history as it is the first time in nine years that NASA astronauts have been launched into space from within the United States. Crew Dragon previously docked on the International Space Station (ISS) before, but this is the first time that it is doing so with crew on board. The spacecraft was going to make a few orbits around the Earth before it docked on the ISS at 11:39 a.m. ET on Thursday.
This launch is set to mark a new phase for NASA. The organization is working to end its reliance on Russian spacecraft to launch American astronauts to the ISS. Jim Bridenstine, a NASA Administrator, opened up about the organization's new phase, as he said, "This is a new generation, a new era in human spaceflight. NASA has long had this idea that we need to build, own, and operate hardware to get to space." The last time that NASA has launched Americans into space from within the United States was back in 2011 on the Space Shuttle Atlantis. As WFTV 9 ABC noted, the Space Shuttle Atlantis is currently on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Complex and has been since 2012.