BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — The historic launch of two astronauts into space from Cape Canveral will have to wait.
The launch was scrubbed shortly before the planned 4:33 p.m. window.
The next launch window will open at 3:22 p.m. Saturday.
When i t does happen, NASA and SpaceX will launch a new era of spaceflight when astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley lift off from the Kennedy Space Center, marking the first manned launch from the U.S. since the retirement of the Shuttle program.
Watch our coverage of Wednesday’s scrubbed launch below:
Their mission, when it happens, will be SpaceX’s final test flight for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, and provide critical data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, the Crew Dragon spacecraft and ground systems and in-orbit docking and landing operations.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Falcon 9 rocket was lifted into its vertical launch position on the launch pad.
“This is a big moment in time,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said. “It’s been nine years since we’ve had this opportunity.”
Teams had back-up windows available on Saturday and Sunday. Forecasters ahead of Wednesday’s launch said there was about a 60% chance the weather will cooperate for a historic launch from Brevard County on Wednesday.
“We have a mission management team working all the checks as we go through the process,” Bridenstine said. “And along the way people can say 'No go’ if they need to."
Behnken and Hurley will be strapped inside the Crew Dragon spacecraft on SpaceX’s Falcon 9, a 229-foot rocket with reusable boosters, similar to what they did Wednesday before the launch was scrubbed.
They will head toward the International Space Station. The astronauts have been tested for COVID-19 twice and are planning to get tested for the virus one more time before they blast off.
The rocket will lift off from Launch Pad 39A, the site from which so many Apollo and space shuttle missions were launched.
The Falcon 9 rocket that will carry the Crew Dragon in its mission has underwent some additional pre-flight checkouts including inspection of the equipment that keeps the Crew Dragon cool before launch.
“We’ve had people living and working on that orbital outpost for almost 20 years, conducting science and research to extend (and) improve life back here on Earth,” NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren said. “And this launch represents an extension of that capability.”
Both SpaceX and Boeing are working toward ferrying astronauts to the space station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The Demo-2 mission will serve as an end-to-end test of SpaceX’s crew transportation system, and will help NASA to certify the system for regular, crewed flights to the space station.
Right now, there is just one U.S. astronaut aboard the station, which will mean an extended stay for Behnken and Hurley.
NASA and SpaceX have yet to determine how long Behnken and Hurley will be on the space station before they splace down, but could spend up to 114 days.
Bridenstine said this flight is to test the vehicle and get it home safely in preparation to launch Crew 1, which has a target launch date of Aug. 30.
Channel 9 will show the launch live on air and on its website.
The WFTV Facebook page also will live stream the launch.
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