LIVE. Launch of the first manned flight of the SpaceX capsule to the International Space Station postponed due to bad weather
A new space era was set to open on Wednesday, with the SpaceX company launching two NASA astronauts into space, a long-time monopoly capacity of a handful of states, including the United States itself. private for nine years.
The start of a new space era will have to wait. The company SpaceX was to launch, Wednesday, May 27, a capsule which was to join the International Space Station with, on board, two American astronauts. However, the launch was postponed due to bad weather shortly before takeoff planned at 4.33 p.m. (8.33 p.m. GMT, i.e. 10.33 p.m. Paris time). Follow the situation in our live.
Bad weather conditions postpone the launch. The launch was to take place from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. But rain and thunderstorms rained the coast and the National Hurricane Center announced the formation of a tropical storm off the coast of South Carolina, further north. This in fact posed a risk to astronauts in the event of an emergency ditching in the Atlantic after takeoff. Takeoff was scheduled at 4.33 p.m. (8:33 p.m. GMT, or 10.33 p.m. Paris time) on launch pad number 39A, from which Neil Armstrong and his Apollo teammates took off. But it was postponed due to bad weather conditions. "It was a great team effort, but we understand," said astronaut Doug Hurley, after the director of launch told him and his teammate Bob Behnken that the weather would only get better ten minutes after the scheduled start time.
What rocket? A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the new Crew Dragon capsule at its top, is to take off. The space agency has paid more than $ 3 billion for SpaceX to design, build, test and operate its reusable capsule for six future space round trips. The development experienced delays, explosions, parachute problems, but SpaceX beat the giant Boeing, also paid to make a capsule (Starliner), still not ready.
Who are the two astronauts on board? Robert L. Behnken and Douglas G. Hurley are both former military pilots, recruited from NASA at the same time and married to astronauts. They met in 2000, when they started training at the space agency, and have since become best friends, said Doug Hurley, 53. Robert Behnken, 49, a doctorate in mechanical engineering at the California Institute of Technology, enlisted during his studies and finished at the legendary Air Force test pilot school in Edwards Air Force Base in California. Colonel, he flew on 25 different planes, including the F-22 fighter. Doug Hurley was also a colonel but an aviator in the Marine Corps, an F-18 specialist pilot.
A new phase in the space conquest. For the first time, NASA is using a manned capsule designed and operated for it by a private company. The goal is to save public money by delegating access to Earth's orbit to businesses to focus on space exploration, with the Moon and Mars in the sights.