The SpaceX launch was cancelled on Wednesday, with weather liftoff live stream to Saturday, May 30 at 3:22pm EDT. We’ll be carrying the SpaceX live stream here over the weekend.
“The weather got us,” admitted NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine in a 30-second Twitter video. “I know there was a lot of disappointment today.”
The SpaceX launch was officially scrubbed just 17 minutes inside the launch window, with NASA hanging on until the last few minutes in an effort to save their efforts. The weather had other plans.
NASA has strict weather rules for clearing spacecraft launches and noted that three weather violations existed, including the chance of triggering ‘natural lightning’. If they would have been able to wait ten minutes beyond the countdown, they could have cleared those violations, according to SpaceX and NASA officials.
The interesting thing is that this was what is known as an ‘instantaneous launch’, meaning due orbital mechanics, a delay just wasn’t possible if the crew wanted to get to the International Space Station (ISS) on time and lock in accurately. Blame Newtown’s law of universal gravity.
The good news is that everything technical with the craft and crew was ‘go for liftoff’ on Wednesday, so as long as this weekend’s weather cooperates and doesn’t trigger NASA’s risk calculations, the mission will happen on Saturday. Weather was the only concern, according to NASA.
This delayed week’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission remains historic, as it’s happening at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. It’s the first such launch on American soil in nearly a decade – since NASA retired the Space Shuttle in 2011. It’s also the first time that a SpaceX reusable spacecraft will be sending NASA astronauts into space. It’s the birth of commercially-backed human space travel.
The destination of this SpaceX launch is the International Space Station (ISS) for a one- to four-month duration for NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, according to our friends over at Space.com.
You, of course, may have more questions. What time is the SpaceX live streaming starting in your region of the world on Saturday now that it’s been cancelled for today? What happened during the whole prep process (and will likely happen again on Saturday)? And who are the astronauts?
We have all of those answers below, as we wait for the SpaceX countdown – again.
SpaceX launch weather concerns delay liftoff
Even with all of the exceptional planning ahead of this SpaceX launch, NASA and SpaceX can’t control the weather (not yet anyway). Florida, while normally sunny, does have frequent quick-moving thunderstorms (anyone who has visited nearby Disney World knows that), and that’s what the crew faced Wednesday.
The SpaceX launch live stream had constant chatter from operators discussing rain conditions. They waited until a few minutes before the countdown expired to scrub the mission, hoping to pull it off. Saturday, May 30 will be the next launch date for the SpaceX launch.
Another weather variable is the fact that the weather conditions need to be good everywhere this spacecraft might be. For example, if the crew had to abort anywhere along its ascent and come down, recovery crews would need to access the capsule, so it’s more than just the immediate Florida launchpad that needs ideal weather.
SpaceX launch time set for Saturday, March 30
The official Demo-2 SpaceX launch time is set for Saturday, May 30 at 3:22pm EDT, so the times across the continental US will be 2:22pm CDT / 1:22pm MDT / 12:22pm PDT. You may want to show up a couple of minutes ahead of time to take in the rocket while it’s grounded and steam is coming off of it.
The UK SpaceX launch time will be 20:22 BST. In addition to tuning into the video live stream, you should go outside and see if you can catch a glimpse of the SpaceX-built spacecraft in the sky at around 20:40 BST – if that remains true on Saturday (that was the case for the Wednesday launch at least [we’ve adjusted the time due to the slight change in launch time]).
In Australia, it’ll already be Sunday morning, with the launch time occurring at 5:22am ACT. You’ll have to wake up a bit earlier to catch this weekend’s rescheduled SpaceX launch.
How to watch the SpaceX launch on Saturday
The official NASA and SpaceX YouTube accounts will be offering a live stream of the preparations, which they noted will feel like deja vu if you had already tuned in for the Wednesday launch.
We’ll have one of the YouTube videos embedded at the top of this page when it goes live. You won’t have to travel far. And don’t worry, you don’t have to tune into both the NASA and SpaceX live stream videos – they’re offering the same content across the two live streams,
On Wednesday, we saw SpaceX founder Elon Musk visit suited-up astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken and exchange a few words before liftoff time. Sadly, there was no audio during this portion of the live stream.
Musk then greeted US Vice President Mike Pence, who is there to watch the launch, while President Donald Trump joined soon after. Hurley and Behnken traveled to the launch site in a Tesla Model X (Tesla being another company Musk founded).
NASA continued to monitor the weather via data sensors around the launch site in an effort to get everything into ‘the green position’ on their maps. At the time, NASA said, “the weather is trending in the right direction,” but as the countdown got to T-minus 17 minutes, favorability went the other direction.
This meant that the crew was seated in the capsule after crossing the crew access arm, and the crew arm had already retracted. Steam started to come off of the rocket before the launch was called off. It was that close to liftoff.
SpaceX spacecraft, SpaceX suits and NASA astronauts
On Saturday, astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will be back inside the small Dragon capsule, which sits atop the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It’s situated on a launch pad at legendary Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida’s Cape Canaveral.
LC-39A was originally built for the Apollo missions and remodeled for the Space Shuttle program. Now it’s home to the first space flight to send astronauts into space using a private aerospace company.
Hurley (the spacecraft commander) and Behnken (the joint operations commander) are NASA astronauts, engineers and both former members of US military (Hurley is a former marine, while Behnken was in the US Air Force).
The two-man NASA crew will not only be flying in a SpaceX-built spacecraft, but also outfitted in SpaceX pressurized suits, first shown off in 2017. They’ll back suited up again on Saturday.