CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Due to strong upper-level winds, SpaceX officials have called off Wednesday’s launch attempt from Cape Canaveral.
SpaceX was progressing toward an afternoon liftoff of a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral carrying supplies to the International Space Station before the launch was scrubbed.
On Tuesday, weather officers said they were keeping an eye strong on upper level winds but SpaceX’s director of Dragon Mission Management Jessica Jensen said the launch vehicle can handle it and SpaceX would launch weather balloons the morning of the launch to recheck the winds.
About an hour before the 12:51 p.m. window SpaceX confirmed the launch was scrubbed due to high upper-level winds and poor landing conditions for the rocket booster set to land on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean post launch.
SpaceX will try again Thursday at 12:29 p.m. when weather conditions are expected to improve.
“Standing down today due to upper altitude winds and high winds at sea creating dynamic conditions around the Of Course I Still Love You droneship – next launch opportunity is tomorrow at 12:29 p.m.” the company said in a tweet.
Crowds and campers were gathering at Jetty Park in Cape Canaveral several hours before Wednesday’s launch attempt. The park offers a prime launching view opportunity because it’s due south from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station where the rocket will blast off from.
Some visitors told News 6 they planned trips from as far as France for the launch.
Friends Corey Hill and Stephen Alling came to experience a launch in person.
“When it comes to sound, you can more than just hear it, you can feel it when you’re actually there,” Hill said, of Pensacola. “But if you see it through TV, it’s not the same thing.”
Alliing, of Joliet, Illinois, said he’s been watching SpaceX’s progress for years from a far.
“I’ve been watching SpaceX ever since they started doing lunches on YouTube and I just wanted to come down and experience one,” Hill said.
A livestream of the countdown will begin about 20 minutes before liftoff. Watch live at the top of this story and check back for updates.
They may be small but the mutant mice launching into space are also mighty.
Researchers hope 40 space-traveling rodents can help keep humans stronger on Earth and help astronauts recover faster when they return from space.
A few dozen female mice dubbed “mighty mice,” because some of them lack the gene for producing myostatin – a growth factor that limits muscle growth-- will launch Wednesday afternoon on a SpaceX Dragon supply run to the International Space Station.
The experiment is one of more than a half-dozen SpaceX will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket, along with supplies for the space station to support more than 250 ongoing science investigations and the astronauts living on the orbiting laboratory.
SpaceX and NASA are targeting Wednesday at 12:51 p.m. for liftoff.
Researchers with the Jackson Laboratory and the University of Connecticut School of Medicine are working to determine ways to help prevent muscle and bone loss for patients on Earth by investigating the potential beneficial effects of targeting myostatin and activin.
According to the lab, blocking the action of myostatin and activin can induce muscle and bone growth.
The space station’s microgravity environment offers an ideal environment for this study because microgravity can degrade muscle and bone.
Researchers say the mice will help show whether an inhibitor of myostatin can ease the effect of microgravity on the musculoskeletal system, both during and after exposure to low-gravity environments, to assess its therapeutic potential-- as prevention and treatment --related to muscle and bone loss.
Other experiments and supplies heading to the ISS include a hyperspectral Earth-imaging system, a Budweiser experiment on barley malting and a study of how flames behave in microgravity.
The cargo Dragon capsule being utilized for this mission has twice delivered supplies to the space station, according to SpaceX.
It was the first cargo Dragon to fly twice, SpaceX’s director of Dragon Mission Management Jessica Jensen said. The spacecraft will remain at the station for about 1 month before returning to Earth.
Jensen said SpaceX is working on the second version of cargo Dragon, which will hold 30% more cargo. That spacecraft is expected to begin launching in late 2020.
The Falcon 9 booster used for the cargo supply mission Wednesday will land on a drone ship known as Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Jacksonville a few minutes after launch.
🚀 Launch facts
Rocket: SpaceX Falcon 9
Launchpad: Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Launch window: Dec. 4 at 12:51 p.m.
Backup launch date: Dec. 5 at 12:29 p.m.
Payload: Cargo Dragon filled with supplies and experiments
Destination: International Space Station
Weather: 90% favorable launch conditions. Liftoff and upper-level winds are the primary concern.
Booster landing: Drone ship landing in the Atlantic Ocean.