CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX decided Wednesday afternoon to postpone its Demo-2 launch as unfavorable weather conditions in the region posed risks to the equipment and crew. Liftoff, which was originally scheduled for 4:33 p.m. ET Wednesday, is now moved to the afternoon of Saturday, May 30. You can read a full overview of the mission here.
The launch director of the SpaceX rocket set to lift off on Wednesday decided to delay the mission about 20 minutes before its scheduled departure time due to severe weather in the region. Officials postponed the launch of the capsule, named Crew Dragon, due to the risks posed to equipment and crew by a tropical depression that's now battering South Carolina with rain and high winds.
Prior to the weather delay, the SpaceX countdown was smooth and without technical hurdles or hitches for an estimated launch time of 4:33 p.m. ET. The rescheduled Demo-2 mission is set for Saturday, May 30.
The SpaceX launch director decided at approximately 4:16 p.m. ET to postpone the launch of Crew Dragon due to weather concerns.
The crew access arm at the top of the launch tower retracted, so the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft with the astronauts inside is now standing freely on top of the Falcon 9 rocket.
SpaceX has begun fueling the rocket, with 35 minutes to go. Just a few moments ago, the Crew Dragon spacecraft's emergency escape system was armed just in case anything goes wrong in between now and reaching orbit. That abort system would jettison the capsule quickly away from the rocket.
The SpaceX launch director gave the "go" call to begin fueling the Falcon 9 rocket, with 45 minutes until launch. Next the company will arm the emergency escape system, two minutes before fueling begins.
There is now one hour until scheduled liftoff of SpaceX Demo-2. You can watch a livestream of the launch here. SpaceX mission control said that it is still "tracking one issue with weather" but that it plans to track that issue "all the way down to launch."
With an hour and 55 minutes go, the hatch of Crew Dragon was closed with the astronauts secured inside.
NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley got out of their ride and took an elevator up to the top of the tower at launchpad 39A at Kennedy Space Center. The astronauts walked out to the end of the crew access arm at the top and then stepped into the Crew Dragon spacecraft, where they got strapped in.
NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley walked out of the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building and got in the Tesla Model X that will carry them to the launchpad.
The agency and space company are together hosting nearly 24 hours of coverage of the first portion of the mission, from about four hours before launch until the spacecraft is scheduled to dock with the International Space Station on Thursday.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told CNBC on Wednesday that the space vehicle for the SpaceX Demo-2 mission is probably the safest to ever carry astronauts.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told CNBC that the agency is closely monitoring a tropical storm in the Atlantic Ocean. This may affect whether the launch happens because its path takes it out over the ocean. A mid-launch abort would see the spacecraft splash down, so the sea can't be too rough. Bridenstine added that the tropical storm "might actually be helpful," however, as the sea behind it may become more calm as the storm moves inland.
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