KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – NASA’s first crewed mission of the year is now set to launch from Florida's Kennedy Space Center early Thursday morning, with a takeoff window opening at 12:34 a.m. EST.
This is the second time the SpaceX Crew-6 mission has been postponed. The original launch date was Sunday, Feb. 26, but after a Flight Readiness Review by NASA and SpaceX, the date was nudged to Monday, Feb. 27.
Why the SpaceX Crew-6 launch was scrubbed
Monday’s launch was scrubbed due to a ground systems issue. According to NASA, the issue prevented data from confirming a full load of the ignition source for the Falcon 9 first stage Merlin engines.
"I’m proud of the NASA and SpaceX teams’ focus and dedication to keeping Crew-6 safe," said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. "Human spaceflight is an inherently risky endeavor and, as always, we will fly when we are ready."
NASA noted that SpaceX has removed propellant from the Falcon 9 rocket and the Falcon 9 and Dragon are in a safe configuration.
The four members of the Crew-6 launch have left the Dragon spacecraft for astronaut crew quarters.
Crew-6 members include NASA astronauts Mission Commander Stephen Brown and Pilot Warren "Woody" Hoburg, United Arab Emirates astronaut Sultan Alneyadi and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev.
The goal of SpaceX Crew-6
SpaceX Crew-6 will be the sixth operational human spaceflight mission to the International Space Station. NASA said the crew will rotate out with the astronauts of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission and spend up to six months on the ISS conducting scientific research.
Brown, Hoburg, Alneyadi and Fedyaev will carry out more than 200 science experiments on the ISS, according to SpaceX.
Their investigations will range from continuing combustion research to testing tissue chips or small devices that imitate the functions of human organs to collecting samples from outside the ISS to see whether the spacecraft releases microorganisms into space.
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The new launch date of the Crew-6 mission
According to NASA, a launch opportunity on Tuesday, Feb. 28, will be foregone due to unfavorable weather conditions.
The next available launch window begins on Thursday, Mar. 2, at 12:34 a.m., should the issue that scrubbed Monday’s launch be resolved.
According to the 45th Weather Squadron, the weather conditions for the launch may include moderate winds in the staging area. The probability of violating weather constraints stands at 10% as of Monday afternoon, with the primary concerns being some rain and clouds.