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Rocket launch to space station ISS canceled: risk of lightning

A new attempt will be made on Saturday. And that is a pity for the Dutch who hoped to see the rocket from their balcony. The plan is that the rocket will go up in the air on Saturday around 9:22 pm, but then it will not be dark enough in the Netherlands.

Tension all night

It was exciting all evening whether the launch would continue. The weather at the launch site had to be good, but the weather had to be good in two possible places for an emergency landing.

In less than half an hour, NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley would fly over the ocean tonight from the launch pad in Florida. They would skim over northern France at an altitude of about 200 kilometers. High enough to also observe from the Netherlands, satellite expert Marco Langbroek said earlier today.

Just dark enough

It was expected to be visible at around 10:54 PM. “That’s nice, because then it’s just dark enough that it should be visible. I expect it to be about as bright as the brightest star.”

Unfortunately, the party for the enthusiasts was canceled.

The rocket may be seen from other countries on Saturday. That’s because the rocket flies so high that it is illuminated by the sun.

Disconnected

You no longer see a clear rocket, rather a bright dot. Or actually two: the Crew Dragon, the capsule where the astronauts are located, was disconnected from the Falcon 9 rocket with which it was launched shortly before the arrival. If you use binoculars, you should be able to see both parts separately. That dot goes rather quickly: with two minutes it disappears behind the horizon.

There is a possibility that a course correction can also be seen on Saturday. That happened earlier with a launch of the freight version of the Crew Dragon, Langbroek says. “With a steering rocket, some gas is then emitted. You see that maneuver as a cloud.”

Only chance

The arrival just after launch would have been the only chance to see the spaceship from the Netherlands tonight: later orbits are not visible from here.

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