What time is Saturday’s launch — SpaceX/NASA launch

Pablo Tucker
May 29, 2020

NASA and SpaceX are being extra-careful with this Falcon 9 rocket launch, which aims to send NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken in the Crew Dragon capsule to the International Space Station for a weeks-long stay.

Zuckerberg commented that he is "proud as an American and as a person" of the SpaceX launch, which would also be the first time a private spacecraft has put astronauts into Earth's orbit.

Elon Musk's company came within 17 minutes Wednesday of launching a pair of NASA astronauts for the first time in almost a decade from the USA, before the threat of lightning forced a delay.

"We can see raindrops on the windows", said Hurley as he and Behnken were told of the scrub. "It feels kind of like one of your close family members having a great lifetime achievement - and really, that's what it is".

The next launch window opens up at 15:22 EDT on Saturday, it has been confirmed. Watch below for full coverage.

Coverage will start at 11 a.m. live on NASA Television and NASA's website.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine takes a question during a briefing at Kennedy Space Center's countdown clock with NASA astronaut Nicole Mann standing behind him. "Postlaunch coverage commentators are Leah Cheshier, Courtney Beasley, Gary Jordan and Dan Huot from NASA; and Kate Tice, Siva Bharadvaj, and Michael Andrews from SpaceX".

SpaceX's flight profile for the Demo-2 mission.

Meteorologists have to be convinced that no safe launch criteria will be violated in order for the Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission to be given the green light for liftoff.

If Demo-2 can not launch on Saturday, due to technical issues or active weather, NASA and SpaceX have set an alternative launch window for 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, May 31.

The weather on Florida's Space Coast did not work out in either NASA's or SpaceX's favor yesterday.

The updated weather forecast from the U.S. Air Force's 45th Weather Squadron, as of Friday morning, is similar to what they were saying for Wednesday. The majority of the rules relate to the presence of thunderstorms or thunderstorm clouds within 10 nautical miles to the launch site and flight path. "We had too much electricity in the atmosphere", Bridenstine explained. "In fact, the rocket itself could become a lightning bolt".

The launch attempt on Wednesday, May 27, was called off with just 17 minutes to go before T-zero.

Atmospheric scientists have learned that rockets generate an electrically conductive exhaust plume that can trigger lightning when passing through a preexisting electric field - usually from clouds containing both water and ice. A high probability of rocket-triggered lighting was part of the reason why Wednesday's launch was postponed. During the Apollo 12 launch, the Saturn V rocket was struck by lightning twice, causing damage to some nonessential components.

Launched atop the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon will accelerate to approximately 17,000 miles per hour, according to NASA, placing the capsule on course for the International Space Station. If they could have delayed the launch to 4:43 p.m. EDT, they likely would have been able to give the go-ahead for lift-off.

This emphasizes that, sometimes, making the "go/no-go" decision for a mission to launch on time can depend on the at-the-moment weather conditions.

Weather Channel meteorologist Jacqui Jeras told Newsweek that there is now a 50 percent chance that the weather on Saturday will violate the criteria for a safe launch.

Past spacecraft that have carried astronauts into orbit were marvels of technology.

Zuckerberg, on the other hand, has always been fascinated with the possibilities of virtual reality.

With NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft, the mission was meant to make the first commercial flight to the International Space Station (ISS).

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