After a day of suspense and anticipation, officials scrubbed the launch of the Crew Dragon Demo-2 spacecraft after inclement weather including nearby lightning and a tornado warning forced the delay.
Earlier in the day, spacecraft commander Douglas Hurley and joint operations commander Robert Behnken boarded the Demo-2 in preparation for liftoff on the way to the International Space Station (ISS). The launch would have been the first crewed mission by Americans aboard American spacecraft to the ISS in nearly a decade.
First Lady Melania and President Trump flew into the Kennedy Space Center aboard Air Force One for the now-scrubbed launch. The President and first lady toured part of the space center including the crew’s on-ground living quarters. Asked by a journalist what his message was to the astronauts, the President responded, “Good luck. God be with you.”
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Elon Musk’s company SpaceX have collaborated in a private-public partnership to make the mission a reality.
Prior to the launch, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told Neil Cavuto on Fox News, “This is a new dawn, a new era, in human spaceflight.”
Responding to concerns from some that SpaceX was just trying to make money off the mission, Bridenstine responded, “The mission does matter more than the money, but without the money there is no mission. If the government is creating the demand and the government is creating the supply, then we will always be limited in our activities in space.”
Bridenstine said he’s looking forward to having commercial flights and commercial space stations be developed in the future. “This is the dream where we can do more than ever in space… including the moon and even on to Mars.”
A few hours prior to the aborted launch, astronauts Hurley and Behnken gave socially distanced goodbye air hugs to their wives and children. The two astronauts have been quarantined for the past several weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to keep them healthy and fit for space travel.
The next window for the Demo-2 launch is 3:22PM EST on Saturday, May 30. The Daily Citizen will bring you the story.
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