SpaceX station resupply flight scrubbed by weather

CBS News

Thick clouds and rain over central Florida early Saturday forced SpaceX to order a 24-hour delay for launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon supply ship bound for the International Space Station.

Company engineers at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station plan to make another attempt to get the commercial resupply mission off the ground at 1:52 a.m. EDT (GMT-4) Sunday, roughly the moment Earth's rotation carries launch complex 40 into the plane of the space station's orbit.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon cargo ship loaded with space station supplies and equipment was fueled for blastoff early Saturday, but bad weather over Cape Canaveral forced a 24-hour delay. (Credit: NASA TV)

Forecasters are predicting just a 40 percent chance of acceptable weather Sunday. Assuming the launch goes forward, the Dragon cargo ship atop the Falcon 9 rocket will reach the International Space Station early Tuesday, bringing more than 5,100 pounds of equipment and supplies to the lab's crew.

A third launch opportunity may be possible Tuesday if the Falcon 9 can't get off Sunday. But after that, SpaceX would have to stand down until Sept. 28 to make way for launch of a Russian Soyuz ferry craft Sept. 25 carrying three station crew members.

SpaceX holds a $1.6 billion contract with NASA for 12 Falcon 9/Dragon flights to the station to deliver some 44,000 pounds of cargo. Orbital Sciences Corp. holds a $1.9 billion contract covering eight missions and 40,000 pounds of supplies and equipment. Both contracts were awarded as part of an effort to make up for the cargo capability lost with the space shuttle's retirement.