NASA and Space X were ready to launch into space on Wednesday, May 27, when bad weather intervened at the last minute.
At around 17 minutes before blastoff, the mission was called off, and NASA said it will be attempted again on Saturday. It was to be the first time a private company had sent astronauts into space.
NASA made the announcement, in a tweet, and will make another attempt on Saturday.
Weather is the the one thing that we actually cannot control on our missions so unfortunately, it did cause us to scrub today. The vehicles are healthy. @AstroBehnken and @Astro_Doug were ready to go and will be ready on our next launch attempt Saturday. pic.twitter.com/4aIGKo39dZ
— NASA (@NASA) May 27, 2020
Space X announced in a Twitter: 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.
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
Ahead of the launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket, Elon Musk was prepared to take full responsibility should the mission go wrong. “I’m the chief engineer of this thing so I’d just like to say that if it goes right, it’s credit to the SpaceX-NASA team,” Musk told CBS This Morning, reports Fox News. “If it goes wrong, it’s my fault.”
“This is the culmination of a dream. This is a dream come true,” Musk added. “In fact, it feels surreal. If you’d asked me when starting SpaceX if this would happen, I’d be like ‘1 percent chance, 0.1 percent chance.'”
Musk did acknowledge that inclement weather could affect the scheduled launch.
The two astronauts aboard were to be the first men to be launched into space from U.S. soil in the past nine years. Tropical Storm Bertha had made landfall earlier in South Carolina, and conditions at the launching pad and downrange, in an area the astronauts would have splashed down should the launch become troubled, were turbulent. Rescue conditions could have become difficult and perhaps dangerous for the crew.
NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken were on board, ready to deploy to the International Space Station.
The Crew Dragon was intending to be propelled by Space X’s Falcon 9 rocket, the first time Elon Musk’s private space firm, SpaceX, was launching astronauts. The journey takes about 24 hours, with speeds of approximately 17,000 miles per hour.
Onboard was also the 100,000 images of recent graduates that were compiled together into the image of planet Earth.
“Congratulations to all of our 2020 graduates!” NASA said in a tweet.
What’s on board the Crew Dragon? @AstroBehnken, @Astro_Doug and a mosaic @SpaceX assembled from 100,000 graduate portraits. Congratulations to all of our 2020 graduates! #LaunchAmerica pic.twitter.com/9Pa0uAyvhd
— NASA (@NASA) May 27, 2020
For the past nine years, the United States has been dependent upon Russian Soyuz rockets launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to get astronauts a ride into space, at the cost of around $75 million for a seat on one of its rockets.