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Just 17 minutes before SpaceX and the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration were set to launch astronauts to the International Space Station, a mundane consideration intervened – the weather.
As excitement washed across the crowd, final checks were conducted and NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley were suited up on board, storm clouds rolled in – prompting the mission commanders to call off the Wednesday, May 27 mission.
A weather officer on NASA’s live feed of the launch explained that if they were to launch 10 minutes later, conditions might have changed – allowing the mission to proceed. The time window allowing for a launch to take place is tight – lasting about one second – so if the moment is missed, the attempt is canceled.
The private aerospace company SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, and NASA are now preparing for another launch opportunity on Saturday. They have one more opportunity on Sunday if Saturday’s launch fails.
In the event that the upcoming weekend’s launch is successful, however, it will resurrect human spaceflight from the United States after a nine-year gap.
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