NASA's SpaceX launch scrubbed due to weather, next chance on Saturday

It will be the first time Americans will launch from American soil since 2011.

May 27, 2020, 6:16 PM

History was set to be made today as NASA and SpaceX geared up to launch Americans into space from American soil and on American equipment for the first time in nearly a decade.

The launch has been called off for the day, less than 20 minutes before scheduled liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, due to inclement weather. It has been rescheduled for Saturday, May 30, at 3:22 p.m.

ABC’s Mark Remillard reports for ABC News Radio:

If all goes well on Saturday, the SpaceX Demo-2 launch will send NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station on a Crew Dragon spacecraft propelled by a Falcon 9 rocket.

PHOTO: NASA security helicopter flies past launch complex 39A and the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with Crew Dragon vehicle on launch day at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 26, 2020.
NASA security helicopter flies past launch complex 39A and the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with Crew Dragon vehicle on launch day at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 26, 2020.
Gregg Newton/AFP via Getty Image

The launch is historic in part because it ends a nearly 10-yearlong U.S. dependency on Russia for seats to space. It also marks the first time Elon Musk's private space firm, SpaceX, is launching astronauts.

PHOTO: The SpaceX Falcon 9, with Dragon crew capsule is serviced on Launch Pad 39-A, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
The SpaceX Falcon 9, with Dragon crew capsule is serviced on Launch Pad 39-A, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
David J. Phillip/AP Photo

Here is the latest on the milestone launch for the U.S. space program Wednesday. All times Eastern.

6:00 p.m.: Jim Bridenstine says there was 'too much electricity in the atmosphere'

The NASA administrator gave brief remarks Wednesday evening after the astronauts had dismounted the spaceship.

"I know there’s a lot of disappointment today, the weather got us,” Jim Bridenstine said. Still, he called it "a great day" for NASA and SpaceX, lauding how the teams "worked together in a really impressive way."

Bridenstine said ultimately, there was "too much electricity in the atmosphere."

"There wasn’t really a lightning storm or anything like that, but there was a concern that if we did launch it could trigger lightning," he said. "In the end the right decision was made."

He called Wednesday's called-off launch a "milestone" in its own right, saying they learned a lot from a full "wet dress rehearsal."

Bridenstine said he is proud of the teams and that on "Saturday afternoon, we are going to do it again."

"Here’s what we know, we are going to launch American astronauts on American rockets from American soil," he said. "We’re very close."

5:28 p.m.: Trump says he will be back for the launch on Saturday

President Donald Trump tweeted his thanks to NASA and SpaceX for their "hard work and leadership."

The president, who had flown down for the scrubbed launch today, added that he will be back on Saturday for the rescheduled launch.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump signs his name during a tour with Vice President Mike Pence, Karen Pence and first lady Melania Trump, at the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., May 27, 2020.
President Donald Trump signs his name during a tour with Vice President Mike Pence, Karen Pence and first lady Melania Trump, at the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., May 27, 2020.
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
PHOTO: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk off Marine One to board Air Force One for a trip to attend the SpaceX Demonstration Mission 2 Launch at Kennedy Space Center, May 27, 2020, in Andrews Air Force Base, Md.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk off Marine One to board Air Force One for a trip to attend the SpaceX Demonstration Mission 2 Launch at Kennedy Space Center, May 27, 2020, in Andrews Air Force Base, Md.
Evan Vucci/AP Photo

5:00 p.m.: Jim Bridenstine to provide remarks on today’s scrubbed launch at 5:20 p.m.

The NASA administrator announced on Twitter that they will hold a briefing at around 5:20 p.m., after Behnken and Hurley have exited the Crew Dragon.

4:17 p.m.: Launch scrubbed for the day due to weather

With approximately 20 minutes until liftoff, the launch has been called off for the day due to inclement weather.

There were three weather constraints that prevented liftoff today, including natural lightning, NASA officials said in a broadcast. Unfortunately, they expected all the inclement weather conditions to clear up just 10 minutes after the scheduled launch time today.

While it has been called off for today, the historic launch has been rescheduled for 3:22 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 30.

As of Wednesday morning, the launch mission's executive forecast for Saturday predicted a 40% probability of violating weather constraints. If weather also impedes Saturday's launch, the astronauts and team will try again on Sunday.

3:54 p.m.: Launch escape system is armed, ready for propellant loading

The launch escape system is armed and it’s a “go” for loading the fuel, it was announced on NASA’s broadcast.

With liftoff less than an hour away, currently, all systems are a “go” except for the weather.

3:35: Weather at Kennedy Space Center remains an issue

Less than an hour before launch, it remains unclear if the weather will clear up enough for the launch to go through today.

At just past 3:30 p.m. ET, NASA said the range for weather was still “red,” meaning they can’t launch under these conditions.

NASA is currently launching balloons to check conditions.

A “Go, No Go,” count is expected at 3:48 p.m. ET.

In the morning, the launch mission's executive forecast predicted a 50% probability of violating weather constraints.

3:25 p.m.: How the mission is honoring the Class of 2020

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