A final decision on an attempt to launch the SpaceX milestone mission to the International Space Station on Saturday afternoon is made after the weather was assessed that morning, NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said on Friday.
Fear of lightning struck on Wednesday postponed the first attempt to launch the first rocket launch with US-based crew in nearly a decade, and the first time a retail company had accomplished this feat.
"Currently no decision about the weather for the test flight of # SpaceX's # CrewDragon spacecraft on Saturday. Will be re-evaluated in the morning," tweeted Bridenstine.
Earlier in the day, NASA said the chances of launching on Saturday at 3:22 p.m. Eastern Time (1922 GMT) were 50 percent. The weather forecast currently predicts a thunderstorm.
The next window, determined by the relative positions of the launch site to the space station, is Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time (1900 GMT), and fair weather is predicted.
NASA astronauts Robert Behnken (49) and Douglas Hurley (53), former military test pilots who joined the space agency in 2000, are said to fly from the historic Launch Pad 39A with a two-stage SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The same launch pad was used by Neil Armstrong and his Apollo 11 crew on their historic trip to the moon when NASA tried to revive the excitement of exploring human space before a scheduled return to Earth's natural satellite and then to Mars.
The mission is taking place despite the shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The crew has been in quarantine for more than two weeks.
NASA has asked the crowd to stay away from Cocoa Beach, the traditional vantage point – but that didn't stop many space fans on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump, who flew in for the previous attempt to start, is expected to be present again.
Triumph for SpaceX
Since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011, NASA has had to pay Russia to use its Soyuz rockets to launch its astronauts into space. The decision was made to shift the focus to commercial partners for missions in near-Earth orbit.
The mission is a crucial moment for SpaceX, the company founded in 2002 by Elon Musk with the aim of breaking the rules to create a cheaper alternative to human space travel.
It was the first private company to dock a cargo capsule on the ISS until 2012 and has supplied the station regularly since then.
Two years later, NASA ordered the next step: to transport its astronauts there by adjusting the dragon capsule.
The U.S. space agency paid more than $ 3 billion for SpaceX to design, build, test, and operate its reusable capsule for six future space tours.
The project had delays, explosions, and parachute problems – but SpaceX hit hard with its competitor, the aerospace giant Boeing.
Crew Dragon is scheduled to dock with the ISS about 19 hours after launch, for an unfinished period, but is expected to be in early August.
The scheduled flight on Wednesday was scrubbed 17 minutes before takeoff due to high atmospheric electricity that could have caused a lightning strike on the rocket.