NASA, SpaceX delay Crew-3 launch due to weather

Strong winds, large waves in North Atlantic to blame

Saturday morning water vapor imagery

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Weather downrange in Crew Dragon’s flight path is the reason SpaceX and NASA are now targeting Wednesday morning for launch.

Four astronauts were supposed to blast off early Sunday morning on a six-month mission to the International Space Station. But while the forecast at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center was near perfect, a large storm in the Northeast had the sea churning farther up the coast. The safety violation prompted managers on Saturday to move the launch.

A storm system nearly 2,000 miles away from Cape Canaveral is generating strong winds and large waves in the North Atlantic.

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Wave heights Saturday morning

Weather and ocean conditions all along the flight path from Cape Canaveral to about Ireland need to be relatively calm in case of an in-flight abort of the Dragon capsule.

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A large storm, formerly a Nor’easter that impacted the Northeast earlier in the week, had moved into the North Atlantic creating poor conditions through a large portion of Crew Dragon’s flight path. As of Sunday morning, wave heights of 10-20 feet are being generated by the powerful storm.

The weather is expected to improve along the flight path, but Subtropical storm Wanda, formerly a piece of that nor’easter will meander in the North Atlantic. While there will still be inclement weather in terms of strong winds and large waves along or near the flight path, it will be less widespread than what it would have been Sunday morning.

Wave heights Wednesday. Waves will still be large across portions of the North Atlantic, but will be less widespread when compared to Sunday.

Weather locally continues to look favorable for launch. The 45th weather squadron maintains an 80% chance for favorable weather conditions at the surface.

Launch forecast Wednesday

Upper-level winds, ascent corridor recovery, booster recovery and solar activity all have a low chance as of Saturday morning of violating launch criteria. Launch is now targeted for 1:10 a.m. Wednesday morning.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


About the Author:

Jonathan Kegges joined the News 6 team in June 2019 as the Weekend Morning Meteorologist. Jonathan comes from Roanoke, Virginia where he covered three EF-3 tornadoes and deadly flooding brought on by Hurricanes Florence and Michael.