NASA-SpaceX Crew-6 mission to ISS canceled due to ground issues
The NASA-SpaceX Crew-6 mission which was supposed to head off to the International Space Station (ISS) today, has been scrubbed. The Crew Dragon capsule Endeavor atop a Falcon 9 rocket, was scheduled to be launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida at 12:15 pm. However, a technical fault played spoilsport. There will not be another launch attempt today.
Why does this story matter?
- ISS has been constantly occupied for over two decades now, since November 2000, and the Crew-6 mission would mark the 68th expedition.
- The mission was supposed to launch on February 26 but was postponed following a flight readiness review on February 21. Now, it has been scrubbed again.
- Both NASA and SpaceX should take lessons from the latest delay, and work on the issues.
What was the issue?
The two space agencies claimed that there was an issue with the TEA-TEB ground system. A fault was found with the chemical that would ignite the rocket's engine. Thus the launch was axed just three minutes before takeoff. Propellant offload has begun, following which the crew will disembark. Officials are now looking for possible launch dates including Thursday, Friday, or even Saturday.
Here's the announcement by SpaceX
Who were the astronauts on the Crew-6 mission?
The four Astronauts on the Crew-6 mission were Warren Hoburg (Pilot) and Stephen Bowen (Mission Commander) from NASA, Sultan Al-Neyadi from UAE, and Andrey Fedyaev of the Russian space agency Roscosmos. Alneyadi and Fedyaev would serve as mission specialists. Alneyadi was set to make history as the first astronaut from the UAE to be a part of a long-duration mission in space.
The astronauts are supposed to spend 6 months at ISS
As part of the mission, Crew-6 astronauts are supposed to spend up to six months at the space station before heading back to Earth. For Bowen, this mission would be his fourth spaceflight. He had previously flown three space shuttle missions: STS-126, STS-132, and STS-133 in 2008, 2010, and 2011, respectively. Crew-6 will be the first spaceflight for astronauts Hoburg, Al-Neyadi, and Fedyaev.
Crew-6 astronauts will supervise about 200 science investigations
During their stay at the ISS, the Crew-6 astronauts will supervise about 200 science investigations, which include heart tissue-related studies performed under microgravity conditions, and research on combustion systems. Astronauts will also collect microbial samples outside the ISS during spacewalks.