SpaceX’s historic launch of the first manned mission aboard Crew Dragon was called off by NASA minutes before takeoff, due to bad weather conditions failing to clear up around Florida. Earlier today, at 4:33PM EDT on May 27 (2:03AM IST on May 28), NASA was set to turn a new page in the history of American space missions by launching American astronauts to space from American soil. It was also set to be an iconic day for the Elon Musk-backed private space player SpaceX, which was set to ferry human passengers to space for the first time ever. Now, the launch has been rescheduled for 3:22PM EDT on May 30 (12:52AM IST on May 31), which too will depend on the prevalent weather conditions.
In a mission that was titled Demo-2, this was arguably the most important “trial” mission in SpaceX’s journey so far, with the lives of NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley at stake. If this mission succeeds, not only will NASA have undertaken the launch of a manned mission from American soil for the first time since July 2011, but it will also mark a new chapter in the future of affordable space travel. However, bad weather played spoilsport to what has been one of the most important space launches in recent years, and all eyes will now be on May 30, when Launch Pad 39a, historic in its own right, will be prepped once again to line up for the launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon.
Standing down from launch today due to unfavorable weather in the flight path. Our next launch opportunity is Saturday, May 30 at 3:22 p.m. EDT, or 19:22 UTC— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 27, 2020
Part of SpaceX’s big promise as a private player in the realm of space is making space missions more affordable, with the utilisation of reusable rockets. SpaceX has held numerous test missions over the past few years, and their recent efforts have been rather diversified. After acing the practice of recapturing the booster phase of the Falcon 9 rocket multiple times, SpaceX’s interest is now vested in manned missions, of which the Demo-2 mission to take Behnken and Hurley to the International Space Station was expected to be the first. Company founder and chief executive Elon Musk has also been upbeat about his perspective on future Mars missions, and the May 30 launch may lay the foundation stone for all of that.
Alongside its promise of reusable rockets, SpaceX has also been doing a number of other things in a different style as well. Astronauts arrived at the NASA mission control centre in swanky Tesla Model X cars earlier today, in space suits that were minimally designed with black trims on a white body. Even the internal control interfaces of the Crew Dragon spacecraft are largely touchscreen, in comparison to the most physical control systems of previous NASA-built spacecrafts.