NASA and SpaceX Mission Demo-2 Rescheduled Due to Weather

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Demo-2

Mission Demo-2 by NASA in collaboration with SpaceX has been aborted due to unfavorable weather conditions. The launch was called off just 20 minutes before the lift-off from Kennedy Space Center. The next slot is Saturday, May 30, exactly at 3:22 PM.

Preparation for Demo-2

Here’s a glimpse of how the event was planned on May 27 and what to expect for the next attempt as well:

The weather forecast predicted downpour

12:45 PM EDT

Ahead of the launch, the weather forecast showed the possibility of a shower and thunderstorm. The clouds could be electrically charged so it was not a good time for launching. The residual electrical charges of thunderstorms could interact with Crew Dragon as it goes through the troposphere and trigger lightning. Here’s what the NASA administrator tweeted:

Suited up for the launch

1:50 PM EDT

The astronauts were all suited up and set for the launch at this time. They used the same room where the first crew of the Apollo mission did. Chris Trigg, the spacesuits and crew equipment manager of SpaceX said that the suit was a part of the Dragon system. It goes hand in hand with the seat. The design was made by the SpaceX team in California.

Astronauts strap up inside the spacecraft

2 PM EDT

After sending in air hugs to family and friends, the astronauts strapped into the seats of the Crew Dragon. VP Mike Pence greeted them and their families at this time.

Astronauts complete communication check

2:10 PM EDT

By this time, the astronauts had strapped their seats, checked for communication from inside the spacecraft. Every system was functioning properly and they could communicate clearly with staff on the ground. Hurley reported that they’re feeling great to be inside.

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Dream come true for Musk

2:20 PM EDT

In NASA’s live broadcast of Crew Dragon launch, Elon Musk commented “a dream come true”. It is indeed a big attempt for him and the entire SpaceX team. He also went onto say that he never thought he’d see a day like this when he was starting SpaceX in 2002. He said that the result of this attempt is the effort of 100,000 people who worked hard to make this work. To this, Jim Bridenstine added that a lot of people thought this wouldn’t be possible. He also added that SpaceX can do things that NASA hasn’t done before. He is also sure that the private company tests, fails, fixes, and will fly when everything is in order.

Elon Musk feels a responsibility for the families of the astronauts. He said that he has done everything to make sure that they return back safe.

Air Force 1 reaches the launch site

2:45 PM EDT

President Donald Trump reaches the launch site on Air Force 1 and NASA telecasted his arrival live. Donald Trump was all excited to watch Demo-2 mission work successfully. Bill Clinton was the last president to have watched a launch from KSC in 1998.

Chris Cassidy updates from ISS

3:05 PM EDT

Astronaut Chris Cassidy of NASA is the only American currently in the ISS. He sent a message that he is waiting for his friends Hurley and Benkhen. He said that he is excited to have his friends and crew joining him. Also, he expressed that he is very happy that Americans are being launched from the Florida coast after so long. The astronaut cannot wait to look out of the window to see his friends’ approach.

Honoring Class of 2020

3:25 PM EDT

100,000 images of students who graduated in 2020 were assembled together into the shape of our planet. Due to COVID-19, the students couldn’t have a normal graduation ceremony. So, NASA decided to congratulate them with a unique gesture.

Weather continues to be an issue

3:35 PM EDT

As people started counting minutes before the launch, the weather was still difficult to predict. The officials were still not clear if the launch was a good idea. As per 3:30 PM, NASA reported that the weather is showing a red signal and that launch isn’t possible if the condition pertains.

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At this time, NASA was launching balloons to get an idea of how the weather is. At 3:48 PM they reported a “Go, No Go” situation. On Wednesday morning, the executive forecast of the Demo-2 launch had 50% chance of violating weather constraints.

Launch system armed for loading

3:54 PM EDT

The launch escape system was armed at this time and they gave a green signal for loading the fuel. The lift-off was just one hour from that time and everything was set apart from the weather.

Launch scrubbed announcement

4:17 PM EDT

Just when it was around 20 minutes left for the lift-off, they had to call off the Demo-2 for the day. It was due to an unprecedented weather condition that could be risky for the mission.

As per reports, there were three constraints due to the weather. First, it was natural lightning, which NASA had broadcasted. Unfortunately, they hoped that the inclement would clear up around 10 minutes after the launch time.

As reported on May 27 morning, the forecast for May 30 predicts a 40% chance of violating weather constraints. In a condition where the mission has to be aborted on Saturday as well, they will make a third attempt on Sunday, May 31.

Update on scrubbed launch

5 PM EDT

Jim Bridenstine was to give an update on 5:20 PM about the scrubbed launch of Crew Dragon. The administrator tweeted that they will hold a briefing at about that time, once the astronauts had exited off the rocket.

Trump to return to KSC on Saturday

5:28 PM EDT

Donald Trump was at the Kennedy Space Center to witness the iconic #LaunchAmerica moment. He thanked SpaceX and NASA for putting in hard work and leadership skills. He also said that he will fly back to the launch grounds on Saturday as per the reschedule.

NASA Administrator Reported on the aborted mission

6 PM EDT

NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine, reported that the astronauts had dismounted Crew Dragon. He expressed that the weather disappointed them but the day was “great” because both NASA and SpaceX teams were on-point to get things in order. Jim said that their work is impressive but unfortunately there was “too much electricity in the atmosphere”. He went onto say that the weather report didn’t show of lighting or storm, but the launch could create one. Aborting the mission was the correct decision.

Jim considers the Demo-2 first attempt call-off a “milestone” and said that it was a “wet dress rehearsal”. He is happy with the teams and is sure that they’re going to work at full force on Saturday. He seemed emotional when he expressed that American astronauts were going to fly on American spacecraft from the American land.

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