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.
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.
Launch Update ➡️ @NASA's @SpaceX #Crew3 mission is now targeted for Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 1:10am ET due to a large storm system elevating winds and waves in the Atlantic Ocean along the Crew Dragon flight path for the Oct. 31 launch attempt. Learn more: https://t.co/WdCdLAKnd4 pic.twitter.com/Z2u0nFRmC6— NASA Commercial Crew (@Commercial_Crew) October 30, 2021
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.
Weather locally continues to look favorable for launch. The 45th weather squadron maintains an 80% chance for favorable weather conditions at the surface.
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.