SpaceX and NASA Astronaut Launch Postponed to Saturday Over Bad Weather

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The first launch of a U.S. manned spacecraft since 2011 was postponed minutes before its scheduled launch Wednesday because of bad weather. "Standing down from launch today due to unfavorable weather in the flight path," SpaceX tweeted.

The next launch is scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

The launch of a human crew is not only a first for the company founded by billionaire Elon Musk, but also the first time a privately developed spacecraft carrying astronauts will enter Earth's orbit. The two veteran astronauts in the launch are Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. The men have been best friends for 20 years and are both married to astronauts.

Earlier Wednesday, all eyes were on Florida's Kennedy Space Center where President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and Vice President Pence gathered with Musk to watch the day unfold. Kelly Clarkson performed a virtual rendition of the national anthem.

The excitement harkens back to the 1960s, when America watched in awe as the race to the moon played out in a series of spectacular launches. Back then, CBS legend Walter Cronkite led the live coverage. Today, all three networks were present with their top anchors.

Another big change are the sleek new spacesuits, designed by Hollywood designer Jose Fernandez, that are replacing the bulky, pumpkin-colored gear of a bygone era. Their helmets are 3D-printed and their gloves are touchscreen-sensitive. 

SpaceX has had a string of 62 successful missions after experiencing setbacks in September 2016 when an explosion rocked their launch pad, and in 2015 when there was a launch failure. 

Data from the mission will play a role in SpaceX's certification to ferry astronauts to and from the space station on a regular basis. 


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