SpaceX delayed the launch of Crew Dragon on Wednesday. Why did the launch not proceed as planned? While many across the country were eagerly awaiting to see the historic event, mission managers had to delay the start due to the weather conditions in the area. According to Reuters, mission managers reportedly cited "a number of weather violations" for postponing the launch.
About 17 minutes before the launch was set to commence at 4:33 p.m. ET, the event was called off. On Wednesday, there was off-and-on rain in Florida, which is where the Kennedy Space Center (the location of the launch) is located. Reuters also reported that the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for the area. In the moments leading up the planned launch, mission managers were paying close attention to several weather conditions in the area, including the possible threat of lightning. Douglas Hurley and Bob Behnken, the astronauts who are set to operate the spacecraft, were already strapped into their seats in the Crew Dragon when the launch was called off. They were reportedly sitting in the spacecraft for a little more than two hours as they made their final preparations.
Standing down from launch today due to unfavorable weather in the flight path. Our next launch opportunity is Saturday, May 30 at 3:22 p.m. EDT, or 19:22 UTC— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 27, 2020
A day before the launch, the official SpaceX Twitter account commented on the forecast for Wednesday. In their message, they related that they were amid pre-flight checkouts for Falcon 9, Crew Dragon, and the ground support system in advance of the launch. At the end of their tweet, they wrote that the forecast for Wednesday purported that there was a 60 percent chance that the weather would be favorable at the time of the launch. Of course, the weather did ultimately lead to the delay of the historic event. The next launch window is set to take place on Saturday, May 30 at 3:22 p.m. ET.
Crew Dragon's launch will be a historic event for NASA's space program. It will mark the first time in nine years that NASA astronauts will be launched from within the United States. It will also mark a significant first for the spacecraft itself. Crew Dragon has previously docked on the International Space Station, but this will be the first time that it is doing so with a crew, Hurley and Behnken, on board.