SpaceX launch postponed due to bad weatherby Tamar Lapin
Stormy weather on Wednesday grounded a history-making trip to space — that would have marked the first launch of NASA astronauts from US soil in nearly a decade.
Private rocket company SpaceX had planned to send Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, with founder Elon Musk and President Trump looking on.
But about 17 minutes before blastoff, thunderclouds and the threat of lightning stopped the show.
The flight — which would have marked the first time a private company sent humans to space — was rescheduled for Saturday.
“No launch for today — safety for our crew members @Astro_Doug and @AstroBehnken is our top priority,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted.
Thunderstorms had threatened a delay for much of the day, and the atmosphere eventually became so electrically charged that the astronauts risked getting the ship struck by a bolt of lightning.
The space vets had been scheduled to ride aboard SpaceX’s sleek, new Dragon capsule on top of a Falcon 9 rocket, taking off from the same launch pad where Apollo 11 began its journey to the moon in 1969.
But a tornado warning was issued moments after they climbed into their capsule.
“We could see some raindrops on the windows and just figured that whatever it was, was too close to the launch pad at the time we needed it not to be,” Hurley said after the flight was scrubbed.
“Understand that everybody’s probably a little bit bummed out. That’s just part of the deal.”
Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence had been on hand at the center in Cape Canaveral to witness the milestone event.
“Thank you to @NASA and @SpaceX for their hard work and leadership. Look forward to being back with you on Saturday!,” Trump tweeted.
Prior to the scrub, Trump had congratulated Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, calling him “a friend of mine for a long time.”
The trip would have put Musk in league with three countries — the U.S., Russia and China — who have all sent astronauts into orbit.
It would have also been the first human launch from U.S. soil since NASA ended its Space Shuttle Program in 2011.
“What today is about is reigniting the dream of space and getting people fired up about the future,” Musk had said in a NASA interview, prior to the scrub.
Crowds of spectators usually gathered to catch sight of these events were asked to stay home over the coronavirus outbreak.
But NASA estimated 1.7 million people were watching the launch prep online during the afternoon.
With Post wires