Today was the kind of day that gets us excited about space travel.
SpaceX successfully launched their Falcon 9 rocket and deployed the Dragon capsule, which is currently on its way to the International Space Station with supplies, provisions, experiments and even an espresso machine!
And to top it all off, they darn near pulled off a historic landing and recovery of the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket booster aboard their robot barge Just Read the Instructions. The rocket hit the bullseye, but came in too hard for a that landing “like a downy feather” that SpaceX was hoping for.
The weather at the launch site was beautiful today, but less than ten miles away dark clouds were looming… (Photo credit: Look in the upper right-hand corner!)
River Tam: Storm’s getting worse.
Mal Reynolds: We’ll pass through it soon enough.
Today’s attempt by SpaceX to launch a Falcon 9 carrying a Dragon capsule to the International Space Station on the sixth commercial resupply mission to the ISS had to be scrubbed just a few minutes before liftoff because of weather concerns.
Those who watched the launch attempt live online probably scratched their heads at the announcement, given the beautiful blue sky and white, fluffy clouds that served as the backdrop for the rocket as it sat on the launch pad. The real danger, however, was a front of dark, well-developed cumulonimbus “anvil” clouds that were within ten miles of the launch site. There were also some reports of distant lightning strikes within the ten-mile limit in the run-up to the launch window, and it is standard procedure to scrub a launch under such conditions.
The next launch attempt will be tomorrow, Tuesday, April 14, just after 4:10pm EDT. In all fairness, though, tomorrow’s weather currently only looks to be 50% go for launch, whereas today’s was 60% just a short time before the scrub had to be called.
And yet, the way we see it, there was a lot to feel positive about today.