(ORDO NEWS) — Stormy weather threatens to delay the first launch of astronauts by SpaceX.
The SpaceX rocket is due to take off Wednesday afternoon from the Kennedy Space Center, delivering a Dragon capsule with NASA astronauts Dag Hurley and Bob Benken to the International Space Station. This will be the first cosmonaut launch from Florida in nine years and for the first time a private company.
Katie Lueders, NASA’s commercial program manager, said things were going well – at least locally.
“Now the only thing we need to do is figure out how to control the weather,” she said on Monday evening, as the rain continued to rain. “We continue to be vigilant and careful and do everything right.”
Forecasters estimate the probability of acceptable weather at launch at 40%.
Dragon emergency rescue system can, if necessary, control all the way to orbit. If this happens, the capsule needs a relatively calm wind and sea, which should not be waves.
SpaceX will have at least two rescue ships deployed off the coast of Florida, and NASA will have two military cargo helicopters ready to take off. According to Luders, additional helicopters will be deployed in New York and England to assist in rescue on water.
Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of SpaceX, said the launch control team will use global weather conditions and models to determine if the launch is safe.
“If the weather gods are with us,” he said, take-off will occur at 23:33.
The good news is that tropical weather toward Cape Canaveral should disappear in a couple of days, and conditions on the east coast will also improve at the end of the week.
If SpaceX does not launch the rocket on Wednesday, the next attempt will be on Saturday.
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