Weather could hamper historic flight to space

Weather could hamper historic flight to space

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The weather factor will be even more critical in Wednesday’s SpaceX Falcon 9 launch because two astronauts will be riding in the Crew Dragon’s capsule. Weather needs to accommodate a safe abort should something not go according to plan with the first manned American rocket from American soil since 2011. Wednesday’s launch from Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center will return human spaceflight to the United States while flying over a much larger swath of the Atlantic towards Ireland. Water is the only place it could touch down. Land is not an option in case of a mission abort. NASA has had a 98-99% launch success rate and NASA will look to minimize risk for astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley piloting the Dragon spacecraft. Weather factors will play a large role in their safety, which is why NASA has a detailed checklist to reduce weather-related risks. The last test abort flight of the Dragon space capsule in January required monitoring a smaller weather footprint. Meteorologists will be monitoring weather patterns and assessing a no-go call if conditions over the Atlantic and at downrange weather locations show a high probability of violating safety limits at splashdown zones. These downrange weather areas include more than 50 locations along the ascent track from the eastern seaboard and across the North Atlantic. Waves will be a determining factor. As of Friday night, T minus 5 days, wave heights near Ireland are greater than 10′ over parts of the Eastern Atlantic Ocean ...
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