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.
"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.
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.
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.