NASA/SpaceX launch postponed until Saturday due to weather conditions

What would have been the first launch of a North American crewed spaceship since 2011 has been scrubbed due to unfavorable weather conditions. The launch has been rescheduled to Saturday, May 22 at 3:22 p.m. EDT / 19:22 UTC.

We hope they will fare better on Saturday. We could use some inspirational moments around now.

3 replies on “NASA/SpaceX launch postponed until Saturday due to weather conditions”

  1. J_W_W says:

    Ten minutes!! All they needed was 10 minutes and the weather would have cleared.

    I’m not sure why leaving ten minutes later would have been a problem. They have multiple hours of holds at certain distances from the space station once they get there. Not sure why they they couldn’t use some of that time to get the 10 minutes back. Oh well I suppose the calculations are harder that I’m thinking, it is rocket science after all…

    • Vulch says:

      To get to the ISS they have to launch into the plane of the ISS orbit, the exact time of launch is the moment when that plane passes across the launch pad. If they wait ten minutes then they are launching into a plane inclined at 2.5 degrees to the ISS orbit instead, and plane changes cost a lot of fuel.

      With the Falcon 9 there’s also the issue of propellant temperatures. Most launchers use cryogenic propellants at around their boiling point and are being continually topped off to replace what boils off. The Falcon 9 gets a respectable performance increase by using much colder, and so denser, liquids. Even for launches with a long launch window they can only hold for a short time before they have to drain the now warm propellants and reload. It was mentioned during the broadcast last night that that process takes about 90 minutes. The propellant temperature is also the reason that for the first time the crew are on board before fuelling starts rather than climbing on top of an already fuelled vehicle.

  2. zocalo says:

    Yeah, I was wondering that too. For some reason a decision had been made that they *had* to launch at the given time, with no holds allowed, but I didn’t hear any justification for that while I was listening. If they’d had the flexibility of an actual window I have no doubt they would have held for 10 minutes somewhere around the 20min mark then, if the weather had cleared as expected, the launch would have gone ahead.

    Still, better safe than sorry with stuff like this. In the circumstance the abort was absolutely the right thing to do, and hopefully conditions will be perfect for the weekend.

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