Florida weather forecast for Saturday: Will the SpaceX launch go ahead?

Tilda Mallinson
Testing of touchscreen control dashboard of the Crew Dragon: SpaceX

SpaceX was due to launch two astronauts into space on Wednesday night in a world-first for private, commercial space travel.

Yet with nearly 2 million people tuned in globally, and a crowd of wide-eyed watchers including President Donald Trump, the launch was called off just 17 minutes before liftoff.

Severe weather - including wind, rain, lightning and a tornado warning - rendered conditions unsuitable for takeoff, “violating” Nasa’s strict guide for manned crew missions.

With events postponed until the weekend, one big question is the whether the weather will improve.

What’s the weather forecast for Saturday?

The 230-foot rocket, Falcon 9, will be launched from the John F. Kennedy Space Center located at Cape Canaveral, east of Merritt Island, Florida— and area currently struck by thunderstorms.

As it stands, these storms are forecast to dribble into the weekend.

Falcon 9’s takeoff is now scheduled for 3:22pm on Saturday, May 30 (9:22pm in the UK), at which point the National Weather Service estimates a 60 per cent chance of showers and thunderstorms at Cape Canaveral.

Nasa-SpaceX astronauts Bob Behnken, left, and Doug Hurley are hoping for a turn of luck (SpaceX)

IBM's prognosis is more pessimistic, with an 80 per cent chance of scattered thunderstorms.

Plan C for the launch is 3pm on Sunday, when there is a 50 per cent chance of afternoon showers that would render the skies unfit for liftoff.

Will the launch go ahead this weekend?

There is a strong likelihood plans at the Kennedy Space Center will be foiled again this weekend.

“Florida's typical late-May warmth and humidity will remain in place through the weekend, making hit-or-miss thunderstorms possible near Kennedy Space Center in the hours near Saturday's scheduled launch time,” warns IBM’s Weather Channel.

Falcon 9 prepared for takeoff at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The analysis expects scattered storms over the peninsula on Sunday as well.

“That’s typical for Florida this time of year as its moist atmosphere is heated by the sun, contributing to the buildup of clouds and hit-or-miss storms, especially in the afternoon.”

Chances are further reduced by the need for relatively calm weather across the entire US and Canadian coasts. This is a precaution taken in case the emergency escape system for the rocket’s capsule (in which the two astronauts will be located) needs to be activated, according to Associated Press.

But in the 20 to 40 per cent likelihood the historic launch goes ahead as scheduled, viewers can log in - or look up - to catch a glimpse.