Tech

Todays the day—weather permitting, America is returning to space

  • Stormclouds roll into NASA's Kennedy Space Center on the evening of May 29th, 2020 as xenon lights illuminate historic pad 39A. Trevor Mahlmann
  • Sunrise on pad 39A on Saturday Hopefully launch day weather resembles these clear skies. Trevor Mahlmann
  • Launch Pad 39A. Where Neil, Buzz, and Michael left for the Moon. Where the first and last Space Shuttle flew from. And now, where Bob and Doug will launch on May 30th, 2020. Trevor Mahlmann
  • Beautiful partly cloudy skies grace the background of Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon one day before their 2nd launch attempt to send NASA Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the Space Station. Trevor Mahlmann
  • Close-up of the Crew Dragon spacecraft atop the Falcon 9 rocket featuring the NASA meatball and United States flag. Trevor Mahlmann
  • One of the 4 remote camera sites near historic launch pad 39A that Ars launch photographer Trevor Mahlmann has a camera established at. Should make for a gorgeous liftoff view. Trevor Mahlmann
  • Exhibit A. Remote camera = established. Trevor Mahlmann
  • Now this is what a 21st century rocket, spacecraft, and launch pad look like. Trevor Mahlmann

After nine years without a human launch from Florida, it's about damn time, isn't it?

During Wednesday's technically smooth countdown, NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken came within 17 minutes of launching before a scrub due to poor weather. Now the crew will suit up and try again on Saturday despite still iffy weather.

SpaceX is working toward an instantaneous launch at 3:22pm ET (19:22 UTC). The big concern again today is the development of thunderstorms near the launch site this afternoon, which could violate a number of weather criteria, including not just precipitation, but also residual electric energy from lighting in the atmosphere. Overall, the chance of acceptable weather at launch time is about 50 percent, forecasters estimate. They are also watching for down-range conditions in case an emergency abort is required during the rocket's ascent to space.

This is nothing new for NASA or U.S. human spaceflight. As the commander, Hurley, Read More – Source