NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A famed astronaut and Tennessee native was one of many disappointed when the launch of the SpaceX rocket ship scheduled for Wednesday was scrubbed due to thunderclouds and the risk of lightning.
The spacecraft — designed, built and owned by SpaceX — was set to blast off for the International Space Station Wednesday afternoon, marking the first time in nearly a decade that the U.S. launched astronauts into orbit from American soil.
Thunderstorms for much of the day at Cape Canaveral in Florida threatened to force a postponement, and the word finally came down less than 17 minutes prior to the scheduled launch that the atmosphere was so electrically charged that the spacecraft was in danger of getting hit by lightning.
Astronaut Butch Wilmore was ready to watch the launch from home, as COVID-19 restrictions prevented onlookers from showing up at Kennedy Space Center.
Wilmore was disappointed, but said it’s not surprising that the launch was scrubbed.
“You wouldn’t think about it, but there are literally thousands of small events that have to take place at the right moment for a successful launch,” he told News 2. “You realize that any number of things could scrub, so you’re lying on your back, but weather can stop it very quickly.”
He added, “[weather] can also open up very quickly and you’re able to go and launch, so you just hope for the best. Most things are out of your control as you lie there on your back, ready to go.”
The launch of the SpaceX rocket ship has been rescheduled for 3:22 p.m. eastern time Saturday, which is 2:22 p.m. central time.