SpaceX Launch Postponed Last-Minute


SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket | Image by Joel Kowsky/NASA

NASA and SpaceX have postponed their Crew-6 manned mission to the International Space Station.

The launch was scheduled for 1:45 a.m. EST on Monday, February 27, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. However, due to technical issues with the engine ignition system, it was canceled, according to a blog post from NASA.

It was a last-minute decision, according to Fox Business. The launch countdown was halted just two minutes before liftoff due to a malfunction that did not allow engineers to confirm a full load of engine ignition fluid, the outlet reported.

“I’m proud of the NASA and SpaceX teams’ focus and dedication to keeping Crew-6 safe,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in the organization’s blog post. “Human spaceflight is an inherently risky endeavor and, as always, we will fly when we are ready.”

Another launch attempt may be made at 12:34 a.m. EST on March 2, but this is tentative pending a solution to the equipment issue, Fox Business noted.

The crew had to sit tight for an hour while all the fuel was drained from the rocket, per AP News. It did not seem to bother them too much, as Stephen Bowen, mission commander, radioed in, “We’ll be sitting here waiting. We’re all feeling good.”

Bowen is one of four astronauts set to man this mission to the International Space Station. NASA pilot Woody Hoburg, Russian cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev, and Sultan al-Neyadi, the first astronaut from the United Arab Emirates, make up the rest of the crew.

The astronauts will replace four others who have been in the ISS since NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 launched on October 5.

The latest mission will use a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as a launch vehicle. The rocket will propel the Dragon Endeavor spacecraft to an orbital velocity of 17,500 mph before separating. Then the spacecraft will dock at ISS and will serve as a vessel for the astronauts’ return to Earth via splash-down months later, NASA explained.

The crew is expected to spend up to six months on the ISS, conducting science experiments and maintaining the station, according to CNN.

When the mission resumes, it will be the seventh astronaut flight SpaceX has led on NASA’s behalf since 2020, CNN reported.

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