The NASA-SpaceX launch has only a 50 percent chance of launch on Saturday and can be moved to Sunday
NASA and Elon Musk’s SpaceX will once again attempt to make history on Saturday by launching US-based astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station.
Spectators from all over the world were disappointed on Wednesday when the first launch counted down by just a few minutes due to adverse weather conditions.
Launch America will kick off tomorrow at 3:22 PM, but the team is still sticking to bad weather, as there is currently a 50 percent chance of Falcon 9 going into space.
NASA will hold a weather briefing this afternoon and will decide if the launch should be moved to Sunday, May 31 at 3:00 PM ET instead – which currently has a 60 percent chance of taking off.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said at a live press conference, “One of the things we’re going to do this afternoon is get a different weather report and we can make the decision that Sunday is the day, not Saturday.”
“It depends on the odds, it is ranked by what the odds are on Saturday and what the odds are on Sunday.”
“If it is a big enough chance on Saturday, we aim for that day.”
“The question is, if we have a 50 percent chance and the next opportunity is on Sunday, we can dedicate ourselves to wet dress rehearsals on Saturday and Sunday.”
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NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine (pictured) said at a live press conference, “One of the things we’re going to do this afternoon is get a different weather report and we can make the decision that Sunday is the day, not Saturday.”
“What we need to start thinking about are the human factors of that,” he continued.
“The human factors are that we exhaust everyone, including our astronauts, even though they never complain.”
“So we’re looking at all these different options that we have to consider.”
With only 16 minutes and 54 seconds left on Launch America’s Countdown clock, a SpaceX official said “scrubbed” during the live stream on Wednesday.
NASA and Elon Musk’s SpaceX will once again attempt to make history on Saturday by launching astronauts Robert Behnken (left) and Douglas Hurley (right) from American soil to the International Space Station
Launch America kicks off tomorrow at 3:22 PM, but the team is still sticking to bad weather as there is currently a 50 percent chance of Falcon 9 going into space
The ground crew had to meet three weather criteria to take off at 4:33 pm, but officials had to stop the countdown – even though it would have cleared again 10 minutes later.
But the launch couldn’t wait, as the International Space Station (ISS) ‘s rapidly changing position meant that the missile would have missed its target, even if it left just seconds after the scheduled launch time.
The space station orbits about 250 miles above Earth and travels at more than 17,000 miles per hour.
This means that NASA must stick to an accurate launch schedule to successfully connect the Crew Dragon to the ISS.
The current Saturday forecast calls for rainfall, anvil clouds, and cumulus clouds – three key factors that can keep Launch America on the ground.
According to reports, Sunday has only a 40 percent chance of bad weather before launch – making it a 60 percent chance the mission will be a success.
The bad weather over Florida is related to Tropical Storm Bertha, which landed in South Carolina on Wednesday morning.
The National Weather Center said the storm center was near the Great Lakes at the end of the day on Thursday and is expected to disappear in the next two days.
Another issue facing NASA is controlling the influx of people attending the launch during the coronavirus pandemic and urging onlookers to follow the CDC’s guidelines. Depicted are reporters wearing protective masks at Friday’s press conference
However, it is the dark storm clouds that can prevent the Falcon 9 from launching on Saturday.
“It’s not a window at all, if you don’t meet it, you won’t go,” said Bridenstine.
“When the weather is nice, you go. “If the weather is not right, don’t go.”
“We must not forget that this is a test flight. We are not in normal operations because we are learning now. ‘
“Bob and Doug are our top priorities and we will go when everything is as safe as possible.” The Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A has 12 different criteria that must be met for a launch to take place.
The list includes winds that must be 30 miles per hour or less, no anvil storm clouds within 10 nautical miles, and other cloud-related restrictions.
When SpaceX and NASA started Wednesday’s journey, there was a 50 percent chance of “weather violation” at launch.
“This doesn’t quite make it,” said a weather officer on NASA’s live feed from the launch.
He explained that if they could wait an extra 10 minutes, the requirements would be met.
When asked how much money was lost due to the aborted Wednesday mission, Bridenstein said there are costs associated with the delay, make no mistake, there are costs. ‘
“We load the liquid oxygen rocket, we unload the liquid oxygen rocket and we have all these people here at the cape who are focused on accomplishing the mission.”
“There are definitely costs involved.”
With only 16 minutes and 54 seconds left on Launch America’s Countdown clock, a SpaceX official said “scrubbed” during the live stream on Wednesday. The ground crew had to meet three weather criteria to take off at 4:33 PM
While NASA has discouraged people from attending because of the corona virus, hundreds of spectators lined the Florida coast to catch a glimpse of the launch. NASA said on Friday that they are urging those attending Saturday’s launch to abide by the recommendations of Florida Governor and the CDC
“Compared to the total investment we needed to get to this point, the costs are really very minimal.”
“And compared to the lives of Bob and Doug, we don’t worry about that.”
Another issue facing NASA is controlling the influx of people attending the launch during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex was officially opened to the public on Thursday, which was specifically done a day after launch to avoid a massive crowd.
However, the center’s website notes that NASA has limited the number of people who can attend the launch – Saturday tickets are even sold out.
“What we expect when people come here is to follow the guidance of the Florida state governor,” said Bridenstine.
“That they follow the guidelines for social distance and wear personal protective equipment if you don’t keep that distance.
“Remember that if we have an outbreak, all contact tracking will begin and eventually all these mission-essential people could be sidelined.
“We will ensure that the people involved in critical mission functions for this country, the launching of US astronauts on US missiles from the launch of US soil and our next rover to march are not endangered.”
SPACEX CREW DRAGON CAPSULE MEASURES 20FT AND CAN CARRY 7 ASTRONAUTS AT THE SAME TIME
The March 2 test, the first launch of American astronauts from American soil in eight years, will inform system design and operation (Artist’s impression)
The capsule is about 20 feet long by 12 feet in diameter and can carry up to 7 astronauts at a time.
The Crew Dragon features an advanced emergency escape system (tested earlier this year) to quickly bring astronauts to safety if something goes wrong, experiencing the same G-powers as a ride in Disneyland.
It also has an Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) that provides a comfortable and safe environment for crew members.
Crew Dragon displays provide real-time information about the state of the spacecraft’s capabilities and show everything from Dragon’s position in space to potential destinations and the environment on board.
Those CRS-2 Dragon missions use ‘propulsive’ landings, with the capsule landing its SuperDraco thrusters on a landing pad rather than splashing in the ocean.
That will give NASA faster access to the cargo being returned by that spacecraft, as well as gain experience for propulsive landings of manned Dragon spacecraft.