The next attempt is scheduled on tomorrow
New York: Elon Musk’s Space X company has been conquering heights since its inception in 2002. The company planned their ever dream project of carrying manned spacecraft to the International Space Station (called Demo 2) on May 27th. But bad weather has nixed that plan, pushing the lift off back to Saturday (May 30th at the earliest. “We continue to violate a couple different weather rules that we now do not expect to clear in time to allow for a launch today”, SpaceX launch director Mike Taylor said about 20 minutes before the planned lift off. “We’re going to go ahead and end today’s launch attempt”, he added.
Saturday’s launch would occur at 3:22 PM EDT (19:22 GMT) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Station in USA. If that doesn’t work out, SpaceX could try again on Sunday (May 31st) at 3 PM EDT (19:00 GMT). Demo-2 has an instantaneous launch window; the capsule must launch at a specific time, when the space station is at a certain spot in its orbital path.
The on-board astronauts for Demo 2 are Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley who belong to NASA, making use of Space X’s ‘Crew Dragon’ capsule. The mission will be a milestone for the entire nation as well as for SpaceX. No orbital human spaceflight has launched from the U.S. since NASA retired its space shuttle fleet in July 2011. Since then, Russian Soyuz spacecraft have been astronauts’ only rides to and from the ISS, at a cost (most recently) of about $90 million per seat. NASA isn’t thrilled with this dependence and is counting on SpaceX and Boeing to break it. In 2014, the two companies signed multibillion-dollar contracts with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to complete development of their astronaut travel service and fly six operational missions to and from the ISS for the agency. Demo 2 is the last big hurdle SpaceX must clear before it can start those contracted flights. Boeing still has some work to do before its vehicle, a capsule called CST-100 Starliner, that can carry astronauts. Starliner did not manage to rendezvous with the space station as planned during an uncrewed test flight this past December; Boeing will retry that mission before attempting a crewed flight.
Speaking of Demo 1, a prequel to the Demo 2, was launched in March 2019, which was an uncrewed spacecraft to the ISS. The company performed another critical uncrewed flight test in January of this year, demonstrating Crew Dragon’s emergency-escape system, which is designed to blast astronauts to safety in the event of a problem during launch. According to the newsletters from Space X, this mission was quite challenging as it involved the destruction of one of their Falcon 9 rockets.