The Crew-6 mission bound for the International Space Station was postponed on Monday after experiencing last-minute technical issues just minutes from launch.
With the help of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, the company’s Dragon Endeavour spacecraft was set to lift off early Monday morning at 1:45AM ET from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch countdown, which was “scrubbed” with just two minutes remaining, “due to an issue with ground systems,” according to NASA, later revealed to be a problem with the TEA-TEB ignition fluid used to ignite the SpaceX Falcon 9’s rocket engines.
NASA and SpaceX are now hoping to launch the Crew-6 mission at 12:34 a.m. EST Thursday, March 2nd “pending resolution of the technical issue preventing Monday’s launch.”
The spacecraft is expected to carry four astronauts, including NASA’s Stephen Bowen and Warren “Woody” Hoburg, as well as the United Arab Emirates’ Sultan Alneyadi and Russian cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev. They’re headed to the International Space Station for an up to six-month stay, where they’ll conduct various research projects to help “prepare for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and benefit life on Earth.”
The ISS, about the length of a football field and the largest human-made object in space, has been continuously operated by a U.S.-Russian-led consortium that includes Canada, Japan and 11 European countries.
At the ISS, they’ll join the seven-member Expedition 69 crew and the history-making Crew-5 astronauts, who will depart shortly after Crew-6’s arrival. This marks the seventh time SpaceX has flown astronauts aboard its Dragon spacecraft as part of the NASA Commercial Crew Program and the company’s ninth crewed flight in total.
The crew was initially set to dock at the ISS on Tuesday, February 28th at 2:38AM ET following their 25-hour journey — just days after the replacement capsule for Russia’s leaky Soyuz spacecraft docked at the station.