River Tam: Storm’s getting worse.
Malcolm Reynolds: We’ll pass through it soon enough.
— Serenity (2005)
When I got word via Twitter just before 2am this morning that the Falcon 9 launch of the SpaceX Dragon to the International Space Station had been scrubbed due to inclement weather, I somewhat disappointedly shut my laptop and shuffled off to bed. Anyone who’s followed rocket launches, or sports for that matter, knows how unpredictable Florida weather can be, especially this time of year. Storms can pop up seemingly out of nowhere, and it often seems like clear skies are the exception rather than the norm. For those of us who were looking forward to the excitement of watching a night launch, it was simply a matter of resigning ourselves to tuning in around 24 hours later and hoping for better luck with tonight’s (technically tomorrow morning’s) second attempt at 1:52am EST. SpaceX has had a tremendous record recently with regards to their turnaround time between launches. This morning’s scrub was nothing unusual when it comes to the business of launching rockets, and I doubt it will break SpaceX’s stride in the least way.
As I climbed into bed, though, I thought about the dozens of SpaceX and NASA employees who had a very long night ahead of them. Thanks to the foul weather, they would spend the rest of their early morning hours carefully packing away all the equipment that is necessary for a launch, including one big honkin’ rocket, only to have to prep it all over again today, making sure everything is just right for tonight’s second attempt at breaking atmo. As I drifted off to sleep, I pondered the dedication of those individuals who work with such passion and precision to further our understanding of space and blaze a trail that will someday allow us to lead lives out in the black, often while the majority of the world is completely unaware of their efforts. I find there’s a special kind of nobility in that, and I’m thankful for all of the men and women like them, whether they work for SpaceX, NASA or any other organization whose mission is getting mankind into space. It’s their love that keeps us in the air.
And so, we’ll tune in again tonight to watch SpaceX take another shot at sending their Dragon skyward. You can watch the launch at spacex.com and nasa.gov. If you’re awake to see the launch, feel free to tweet us and share your thoughts (@TakeBackTheSky). After all, we think launches are even more fun when the experience is shared.
We wish the men and women of SpaceX clear skies and a smooth flight tonight. Godspeed, Dragon.
Let’s light this candle!