Today was going to be another big day for SpaceX, with a launch to the International Space Station scheduled for midday. The mission includes a wealth of science experiments and supplies for the crew of the orbiting laboratory. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans.
Shortly before the launch was scheduled to take place, SpaceX was forced to scrub the mission due to high upper-level winds and potentially hazardous conditions at sea, where SpaceX’s drone ship was to be positioned.
“Standing down today due to upper altitude winds and high winds at sea creating dynamic conditions around the Of Course I Still Love You droneship,” SpaceX’s tweet explains. “Next launch opportunity is tomorrow at 12:29 p.m. EST, 17:29 UTC.”
SpaceX’s drone ship acts like a portable landing pad for its reusable rockets. It’s a system that has worked quite well for SpaceX in the past, but due to the nature of landing a rocket on a boat, the weather has to cooperate or the risks of a failed landing increase dramatically. The combination of poor sea conditions and high winds at altitude was more than enough reason to push the launch back to a later date.
When the Falcon 9 is finally able to fire its Dragon cargo spacecraft into the sky, it will be carrying a whole bunch of awesome gear. One experiment will see the crew malting space-grown barley in order to see how the resulting malt may differ from malt made back on Earth. In the future, barley may play an important role in the nutrition of astronauts during long-haul space missions.
We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed that the weather cooperates for Thursday’s launch attempt, which will be streamed live by SpaceX.