SpaceX Delays Dragon Cargo Ship Launch for NASA Due to Bad Weather
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying an unmanned Dragon cargo ship bound for the International Space Station stands atop a launch pad at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station early on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 in this NASA image. Bad weather forced SpaceX to postpone the planned Saturday Dragon launch for at least 24 hours.
Credit: NASA

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A commercial SpaceX Dragon supply ship packed with NASA experiments — including 20 mice destined for the final frontier — will have wait at least one more day to blast into space after bad weather thwarted a launch attempt early Saturday (Sept. 20).

A drizzling pre-dawn rain and thick clouds lingered over SpaceX's Florida launch pad here, forcing the company to postpone its Dragon delivery mission to the International Space Station for NASA until Sunday (Sept. 21). The SpaceX-built Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon capsule is now set to launch at 1:52 a.m. EDT (0552 GMT) on Sunday.

You can watch the SpaceX launch webcast live Sunday on Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV. The webcast will begin at 12:45 a.m. EDT (0445 GMT). [See photos from the SpaceX-4 cargo mission]

An unmanned SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule sits atop its Falcon 9 rocket at the private spaceflight company's launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Sept. 19, 2014. Bad weather prevented a planned early-morning launch toward the International Space Station for NASA on Saturday, Sept. 20.
An unmanned SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule sits atop its Falcon 9 rocket at the private spaceflight company's launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Sept. 19, 2014. Bad weather prevented a planned early-morning launch toward the International Space Station for NASA on Saturday, Sept. 20.
Credit: SpaceX

"We have scrubbed today's launch opportunity because of inclement weather," NASA spokesman Mike Curie said during the countdown commentary about a half hour before the targeted 2:14 a.m. EDT (0614 GMT) launch time on Saturday.

SpaceX's Dragon is carrying some unusual cargo among its 2.5 tons of astronaut supplies, science experiments and new hardware being hauled to the space station. That haul includes 20 mice that will live inside a new rodent habitat, the first 3D printer built for space and a NASA device called RapidScat, designed to track ocean winds on Earth from the space station.

The forecast for Sunday calls for a 40-percent chance of good launch weather for SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Dragon, according to NASA weather experts. If all goes well, the Dragon spacecraft will arrive at the station on Tuesday (Sept. 23) and be captured by astronauts using the outpost's robotic arm.

"We're hoping the weather will be more favorable," Curie said.

The spaceflight company SpaceX is one of several firms building private space taxis and cargo ships to launch astronauts and supplies into space. But there's more to SpaceX than meets the eye. Test your SpaceX know-how here.
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Quiz: How Well Do You Know SpaceX's Dragon Spaceship?
The spaceflight company SpaceX is one of several firms building private space taxis and cargo ships to launch astronauts and supplies into space. But there's more to SpaceX than meets the eye. Test your SpaceX know-how here.
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The mission is the fourth of 12 SpaceX delivery missions to the space station using its Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rockets. The Hawthorne, California-based company has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA for those resupply flights. NASA also has a separate cargo delivery contract with the Virginia-based company Orbital Sciences, which uses its own Antares rockets and Cygnus spacecraft for the flights.

Earlier this week, NASA also picked SpaceX as one of two companies that will fly American astronauts to the station on commercial space taxis. The space agency tapped SpaceX's manned Dragon Version 2 spacecraft and the Boeing CST-100 capsule as the future ferry ships for U.S. astronauts headed to the International Space Station.

Visit Space.com early Sunday for complete coverage of SpaceX's latest Dragon launch for NASA. To follow the countdown with live updates, visit our partner Spaceflight Now's Mission Status Center.

Editor's note: This story was updated to correct the launch weather forecast from NASA, which calls for a 40-percent chance of good launch weather on Sunday for SpaceX's Dragon mission.

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