Spaceflight Insider

Lightning strike scrubs June 1 launch attempt for CRS-11 mission

This is the view looking west from the Kennedy Space Center Press Site at 4:05pm (ET), less than 2 hours from the scheduled launch of the #SpaceX #Falcon9 rocket carrying a #Dragon capsule full of supplies for the International Space Station. These storms would bring lightning to the area, eventually resulting in a scrub of the launch. The next attempt to launch is set for Saturday, June 3 at 5:07pm. (Photo by Michael Seeley / We Report Space)

Photo Credit: Michael Seeley / We Report Space

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — NASA and SpaceX attempted to launch the 11th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-11) mission to the International Space Station today, June 1. However, Mother Nature dashed hopes the Falcon 9 would launch in the “instantaneous” one-second window. 

Weather conditions were predicted by the 45th Weather Squadron as having a 30 percent chance of unfavorable conditions at the time of launch. The primary concerns were the anvil and cumulus clouds. However, 30 percent was all it took.

SpaceX called off the launch about 25 minutes before the planned liftoff due to a lightning strike near Kennedy Space Center, which violated the lightning flight rule, which requires no strikes within 10 miles of the pad fewer than 30 minutes before liftoff. The team will try again at 5:07 p.m. EDT (21:07 GMT) on Saturday, June 3, 2017.

Unfortunately, on Saturday, the weather is expected to worsen to a 40 percent chance of inclement weather. The primary concerns that day will be the anvil and cumulus clouds as well as fly through precipitation.

The 48-hour turnaround will allow the rocket to be lowered to the horizontal position for time-critical cargo inside the Dragon capsule to be replaced. When it does get off the ground, the CRS-11 mission will be the 100th launch from Launch Complex 39A. It will also be the sixth Falcon 9 to depart from the historic pad and SpaceX’s seventh launch of the year.

 

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Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.

Reader Comments

Central Florida has the highest lightening strike incidence in the continental US, plus hurricane frequency. I’m sure in circa 1955 when the site was chosen, there was a criteria matrix and the benefits outweighed the concerns.

If this website has access to that criteria matrix/evaluation it sure would be an interesting read. I’m sure that in the day, rockets which might explode after launch – “where would they land” – had a big percentage of the decision proportion.

Thanks.

I hope we are not still using rockets 100 years from now to get in to orbit and always have to be concern about the weather!

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