The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the manned Crew Dragon spacecraft on launch pad 39A.
After a day of suspense, SpaceX's landmark launch to the International Space Station -- the first crewed mission to blast off from US soil in almost a decade -- was scrubbed Wednesday due to fears of a lightning strike.
With NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley strapped into the Crew Dragon capsule, the launch pad platform retracted and rocket fueling underway, SpaceX made the call to abort.
"Unfortunately, we are not going to launch today," launch director Mike Taylor said, with about 17 minutes to go until takeoff.
"We had just simply too much electricity in the atmosphere," NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said later.
"There wasn't really a lightning storm or anything like that, but there was a concern that if we did launch it could actually trigger lightning," he added.
This was the case for the Apollo 12 mission, which was struck twice shortly after launch -- losing the use of some non-essential instruments but completing its mission nonetheless.
A rocket and its plume ascending through clouds act as conductors and can trigger lightning at lower levels of atmospheric electricity than what is required for natural lighting.
The delay means a wait of at least a few more days for the first crewed launch on an American rocket since the space shuttle program ended in 2011. They will try again on Saturday.
If successful, the launch will be the first time the feat has been performed by a privately owned company.
A live video feed showed Behnken and Hurley -- in their futuristic white uniforms adorned with the US flag and the logos of NASA and SpaceX -- waiting as propellant was unloaded from the reusable Falcon 9 rocket after the launch was postponed.
The emergency ejection system remained armed until the fuel tanks were emptied, in case of an accidental explosion.
The launch had been scheduled for 4:33 pm (2033 GMT) from the Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A. Neil Armstrong and his Apollo 11 crewmates lifted off from the same spot on their historic journey to the Moon.
SpaceX win over Boeing
Founded in 2002, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. has torn up the rules to produce a lower-cost alternative to human spaceflight that has gradually won over skeptics.
The project has experienced delays, explosions, and parachute problems -- but even so, SpaceX has beaten aerospace giant Boeing to the punch.
Boeing's NASA entry, the Starliner, is still not ready.
Ending dependence on Russia
A decade on, it was Trump who was present for the launch.
The Republican is trying to reaffirm American domination of space, militarily but also by ordering a return to the Moon in 2024.
NASA hopes to entrust "low Earth orbit" space travel to the private sector in order to free up dollars for its more distant missions.
Crew Dragon is a capsule like Apollo, but updated for the 21st century. Touch screens have replaced switches. The interior has more subtle lighting.
It looks entirely different from the huge winged space shuttles that carried astronauts into space from US soil from 1981 to 2011.
When the mission eventually goes ahead, Crew Dragon will catch up with the space station, and will probably remain docked there until August.
'I'm so excited that we finally get to share what we have been working on for the past year!' the 29 year-old Bouman said.
NASA have made it clear they want astronauts back on the Moon in 2024, and now, they are zeroing in on the Red Planet -- the US space agency confirmed that it wants humans to reach Mars by 2033.
NASA's Mars Helicopter has successfully completed a series of tests and is ready to take flight over the Red Planet, the US space agency said. "The next time we fly, we fly on Mars," MiMi Aung, Project Manager for Mars Helicopter at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement.
The 2021 Nobel Laureate for Literature, Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah, will lead the list of international literary luminaries from 13 countries who will participate in the 40th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2021), which takes place from November 3 – 13 at Expo Centre Sharjah. A host of 15 literary greats from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will be joining this group of global participants.
The Court of Appeal in Dubai upheld a ruling issued by the Court of First Instance sentencing a gang of three Asians to one year to be followed by deportation and fining them Dhs1,700 after being convicted of assaulting a grocer and stealing a sun of money equal to the fine.
The Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) issued a decision administratively shutting down “Al Madad Refreshments” on Al Salam Street in Abu Dhabi, which holds trade license number CN-1030302, for violating Law No 2 of 2008 regarding food safety in Abu Dhabi.
This came in a phone call Sheikh Mohamed received on Wednesday from the Syrian president where they also discussed the ongoing developments in Syria and the Middle East in addition to issues of regional and international interest.