- Weather delayed the first attempt to launch SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission on Wednesday, and it’s looking like it might happen again on Saturday.
- The official weather report from the 45th Space Wing Weather Squadron puts the odds of favorable weather conditions at a mere 40%.
- Saturday’s backup launch window is on Sunday, which also has just a 40% chance of being suitable for launch, according to the report.
NASA’s historic first crewed mission from US soil since the end of the Space Shuttle era was pushed back from its scheduled launch on Wednesday to the backup launch window on Saturday. Weather observations revealed that certain conditions weren’t within their acceptable ranges, forcing the mission to be delayed.
It was a huge bummer for both SpaceX and NASA, but these things do happen with surprising frequency, and that’s why backup launch dates exist. Unfortunately, it’s already looking like the weather won’t be any better on Saturday. In fact, it could end up being worse.
As CNN reports, the 45th Space Wing Weather Squadron reports 40% odds of favorable weather conditions for Saturday’s launch window. Prior to the launch being called off on Wednesday, odds that the weather would cooperate were around 50%.
The official weather report that determines whether a mission can launch or not is based on a variety of rules related to wind speeds, precipitation, and the types of clouds in the area. If any of those readings are outside of safe constraints, the rule is broken and the flight cannot proceed as scheduled.
“A frontal boundary is pushing across the Appalachians and the weather ahead of it will begin to influence the Atlantic Coast States. This frontal boundary will continue to move east on Saturday, bringing the pre-frontal weather into the Atlantic and nudging subtropical ridge axis south of the Spaceport,” the report reads (PDF). “This will impede the inland progression of the east coast sea breeze, keeping any afternoon convection close to the coast. In addition, any tropical development over the next few days is staying well east over the open Atlantic on the long-range guidance. The primary concerns are flight through precipitation, as well as the anvil and cumulus cloud rules associated with the afternoon convection.”
NASA and SpaceX have a couple of windows lined up to potentially launch the Crew Dragon’s second demo mission. The first is Saturday, and the next one is on Sunday. Unfortunately, both dates currently have just a 40% chance of favorable weather.
The mission is going to happen sooner or later. It’s crucial for both NASA and SpaceX, and even if it gets delayed a dozen times, NASA’s astronaut duo will eventually take to the skies in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule. Whenever it happens, it’ll be a history-making day. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that we don’t have to wait too long.