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How the weather can delay the NASA SpaceX launch

The NASA SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch is scheduled for May 27 but here is how the weather could affect the launch time.

Launching a rocket is a delicate dance. And, there's a lot that can stop it. If sustained wind at the 162-foot level of the launch pad is more than 30 miles an hour, it's a no-go.

Same thing is there's wind shear that could cause control problems for the launch vehicle.

If lightning strikes within 10 nautical miles of the pad or flight path, that's an automatic 30-minute delay. A nautical mile is 1.15 regular miles.

Nearby clouds can delay the launch too – especially if they're tied to storms.

RELATED: NASA, SpaceX launch updates: How to watch today's historic launch

It's Florida, so it'll be warm toward the ground, but if NASA sees precipitation and freezing temperatures in the clouds way up high, the launch will be scrapped.

If the rocket is set to go through a cloud layer greater than 4,500 feet thick that extends into freezing temperatures – no go.

For context, the SunTrust building in downtown Tampa is 525 feet tall. The cloud would be as thick as more than 8 SunTrust buildings stacked on top of each other.

Another issue is wildfires. If a there's a smoke cloud from fires near the rocket, no launch.


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