Cape Canaveral, May 28:
The launch of a SpaceX rocket ship with two NASA astronauts on a history-making flight into orbit was called off with less than 17 minutes to go into the countdown Wednesday because of thunderclouds and the danger of lightning. Liftoff was rescheduled for Saturday afternoon.
Both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence had arrived to watch.
The spacecraft designed, built and owned spacecraft by SpaceX was set to blast off in the afternoon for the International Space Station, ushering in a new era in commercial spaceflight and putting NASA back in the business of launching astronauts from U.S. soil for the first time in nearly a decade.
But thunderstorms for much of the day threatened to force a postponement, and the word finally came down that the atmosphere was so electrically charged that the spacecraft with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken aboard was in danger of getting hit by a bolt of lightning.
The two men were scheduled to ride aboard the SpaceX’s sleek, bullet-shaped Dragon capsule on top of a Falcon 9 rocket, taking off from the same launch pad used during the Apollo moon missions a half-century ago.