Today's SpaceX Crew Dragon In-Flight Abort (IFA) test was postponed due to bad weather conditions at sea where the spacecraft is going to land. This vital IFA test has been rescheduled for tomorrow, Sunday January 19. A Falcon 9 rocket will lift off from Launch Complex 39A at Florida's NASA Kennedy Space Center, within a 6 hour launch window beginning at 8:00 a.m. EST and ending at around 2:00 p.m. EST.
According to the United States Air Force's 45th Weather Squadron, tomorrow's weather looks equally unstable. The probability of bad weather further postponing the launch are between 40% and 60%. A backup launch date for conducting this important mission is Monday, January 20 but the forecast predicts an increase of bad weather between 50% and 70%. So, SpaceX and NASA opted to conduct the mission on Sunday. SpaceX Announced:
"Standing down from today's in-flight Crew Dragon launch escape test due to sustained winds and rough seas in the recovery area, Now targeting Sunday, January 19, with a six-hour test window opening at 8:00 a.m. EST, 13:00 UTC."
Standing down from today’s in-flight Crew Dragon launch escape test attempt due to sustained winds and rough seas in the recovery area. Now targeting Sunday, January 19, with a six-hour test window opening at 8:00 a.m. EST, 13:00 UTC— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 18, 2020
"This test, which does not have NASA astronauts onboard the spacecraft, is intended to demonstrate Crew Dragon's ability to reliably carry crew to safety in the unlikely event of an emergency on ascent."
The mission will not carry astronauts onboard. Instead, Crew Dragon will have two mannequins dressed like astronauts inside, they are "anthropomorphic test devices" -that will be equipped with high-tech sensors. The sensors will gather valuable data to see how future manned flights inside the spacecraft would be like.
Suited up! While crew members won't be aboard #CrewDragon during tomorrow's @SpaceX In-Flight Abort Test, astronauts Bob Behnken & Doug Hurley rehearsed what they'll experience during @Commercial_Crew missions. I'm excited we'll soon launch American astronauts from American soil! pic.twitter.com/Fr3CjGTm4s— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) January 17, 2020
Yesterday, all of NASA and SpaceX staff, including astronauts, practiced what to do during an In-Flight Abort situation. They will use tomorrow's IFA test to practice and learn beyond training with only what computerized simulations can provide.
This is the final major test the company will conduct before carrying astronauts onboard to the International Space Station (ISS). If it all goes well, we could see SpaceX's first crewed mission take place sometime this year.
Good luck to SpaceX and NASA!