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*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Weather Delay

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The hatch was closed on the SpaceX Dragon capsule with astronauts buckled in place, but the window of acceptable weather collapsed with about 17 minutes to go on the countdown to launch. I had just mentioned to Cyndie over the phone during my commute home from work that I would miss seeing the spectacle but suggested she turn it on to watch.

A few minutes later, she called me back to report the mission was postponed. There were lightning strikes showing up inside the radius of acceptability and the stormy seas in the “if-need-to-abort-launch” landing zone were also problematic.

“Due to the weather conditions, the launch is scrubbing,” NASA wrote. “Our next opportunity will be Saturday, May 30 at 3:22pm ET.”

The good news is that their next try will be at a time I should be available to witness the historic return of U.S.-launched astronauts. I was able to see a few minutes of NASA’s live streaming coverage yesterday about three hours before launch and was thrilled over the incredible visual access provided to what felt like almost intimate moments of preparation.

From a mix of alternate camera angles switching back and forth like a scripted movie, I saw technicians’ eyes inside their hooded jumpsuits and above their face masks as they tended to the complex number of details securing Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley in their seats. Watching with the sound off, I was undistracted by narration as I watched the sequence play out and the techs waited as the astronauts wiggled their hands into the sleek spacesuit gloves and tried to close the two different zippers.

Eventually, a tech reached up to assist with the last little pull. Then the two technicians swapped positions and double-checked each step the other had executed on their respective charges. The astronauts and techs exchanged fist-bumps that gave me goose-bumps.

Why, in my day <cough> all we got was Walter Cronkite talking along with occasional animated shots of what was about to happen interspersed with long-distance views of the launch pad, in grainy black & white images.

If you haven’t visited the NASA live streaming coverage before, I encourage you to check it out on Saturday afternoon. It is truly fascinating. Coverage is expected to begin around 11am ET.

Tuesday night, we had some weather delays of our own at Wintervale. Anything we expected to accomplish outside was put on hold for a series of rumbling thunderstorms that carried on through the night, leaving drainage ditches filled and flowing and the small creeks up to the brim by yesterday morning.

Sure am glad I’m not trying to plan a bike trip in this kind of weather this year.

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Written by johnwhays

May 28, 2020 at 6:00 am

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