SpaceX and NASA postpone historic astronaut launch due to bad weather

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – With just under 17 minutes to go, SpaceX decided to postpone its first historic astronaut launch on Wednesday due to bad weather in the region.

The launch director announced that the Demo-2 mission was an exfoliation of an abundance of caution for the safety of the crew on board. It would be the first time that NASA astronauts have launched with SpaceX and the first time that NASA has launched its own crew since 2011.

NASA and SpaceX had been closely monitoring the weather throughout the day as local thunderstorms passed through the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In addition, inclement weather off the coast of South Carolina was a factor that launch managers monitored, as conditions on the surface of the Atlantic Ocean could affect the spacecraft if the launch was interrupted.

Before the weather delay, the SpaceX countdown was smooth and without technical obstacles or snags for an estimated launch time of 4:33 p.m. ET. The rocket must be launched at a specific time because it must send the spacecraft on a trajectory which will meet the International Space Station in orbit around the Earth.

The company will again try to launch the Demo-2 mission on Saturday May 30 at 3:22 p.m. ET.

In a tweet, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said: “We are not going to launch today”.

“Due to weather conditions, the launch is recurring,” NASA wrote. “Our next opportunity will be Saturday, May 30 at 3:22 p.m. ET.”

The launch drew a full set of celebrities, with President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump both flying to Florida to watch the mission in person. Several members of Elon Musk’s family also joined him in the mission control room to watch.

SpaceX will attempt the launch again in a few days, with the US Air Force’s 45th Space Wing giving a 60% chance of favorable weather conditions on Saturday.

– CNBC’s Tom Franck contributed to this report.

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