ORLANDO, Fla., July 24 (UPI) -- Storms in Florida caused a last-minute scrub of SpaceX's launch of a rocket to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral on Wednesday evening.
The launch time for the company's 18th resupply mission was scheduled for 6:24 p.m., but radar showed approaching rain and thick clouds. The Air Force pegged the chance for good launch weather at 10 percent because of expected storm systems with lightning and heavy clouds.
SpaceX will try again at 6:01 p.m. Thursday, but there's a similar chance for clouds and lightning.
The Dragon spacecraft, riding on top of the rocket, is expected to deliver supplies, science equipment and a new docking mechanism that will be used for spacecraft carrying people. The rocket is to lift off from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, adjacent to Kennedy Space Center.
The reusable booster for the rocket is expected to land at the Air Force station after launch, causing sonic booms on the Space Coast and over parts of central Florida.
The mission will fly for two days before docking. NASA astronaut Nick Hague, who is on board the space station, is set to retrieve the spacecraft during the docking maneuver.
The cargo launch is expected to occur five days after three astronauts lifted off Saturday from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and docked with the space station. They made the voyage in 6 hours, 20 minutes.
Among the private companies sending 17 research projects to the space station are Goodyear, Nickelodeon, drugmaker AstraZeneca and nScrypt, an Orlando company that is sending a 3D printer to space to make human tissue.
The ISS National Lab is sponsoring 25 separate payloads on SpaceX CRS-18, a new high for a resupply mission. The lab says the demand for space-based research and development continues to increase as more companies try new science experiments in a microgravity environment.
The nScrypt experiment "could serve as a first step toward achieving the ability to fabricate entire human organs in space," NASA said.
Better tires is the goal of Goodyear's experiment, which will explore ways to improve tire manufacturing and performance by creating silica fillers in microgravity, potentially yielding results not possible on Earth.
AstraZeneca is sending its second payload to the station, this time studying therapies to treat cancer and immune diseases.