June 16, 2024

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SpaceX and NASA's launch of an astronaut to the International Space Station was canceled at the last minute

SpaceX and NASA’s launch of an astronaut to the International Space Station was canceled at the last minute

(CNN) SpaceX and NASA have canceled an astronaut’s launch to the International Space Station after discovering a problem with the rocket’s ground system.

With about two minutes left on the countdown clock, the launch was canceled due to an issue with the TEA-TEB ignition fluid, which is used to ignite the engines of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at liftoff.

Kate Tice, a SpaceX systems engineer, said in a commentary on Monday’s webcast that the decision to cancel the launch was made “out of an abundance of caution.”

The four astronauts, who were strapped into their Crew Dragon capsule atop the rocket in the hours leading up to launch, wait for the rocket to empty the fuel before they can exit the spacecraft.

The next opportunity to attempt a launch is Tuesday, February 28 at 1:22 a.m. ET, though it’s not yet clear if the TEA-TEB issue will be resolved in time. Officials are tracking some unfavorable weather conditions that could affect this launch target, Steve Stitch, program manager for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, said at a news conference Saturday.

Additional backup launch opportunities are available starting March 2, Stich said.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule were scheduled to lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 1:45 a.m. ET on Monday. But the clock has been stopped by the engineers overseeing ground systems with only two and a half minutes left.

This mission is expected to mark the seventh astronaut flight by SpaceX on behalf of NASA since 2020.

Crew-6 team that will start the capsule Among them are NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen, a veteran of three space shuttle missions, and first pilot Warren Hoburg, as well as Sultan Al Neyadi, who will be the second astronaut from the United Arab Emirates ever to travel to space, and Russian cosmonaut Andrei Fedyaev.

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Once Bowen, Hoborg, Fedayev, and El Neyadi are on the International Space Station, they will work to take over operations from the SpaceX Crew-5 astronauts who He arrived at the space station in October 2022.

They are expected to spend up to six months aboard the orbiting laboratory, conducting science experiments and maintaining the two-decade-old station.

The mission comes as astronauts currently on the International Space Station grapple with a separate transportation issue.

In December, the Russian Soyuz spacecraft that was being used to transport two cosmonauts and one NASA astronaut to the space station developed a coolant leak. After the capsule was deemed unsafe to return cosmonauts, the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, A replacement vehicle launched on February 23rd. I arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday.