SpaceX's next astronaut mission for NASA will now lift off early Thursday morning (March 2), if all goes according to plan.
Elon Musk's company originally aimed to launch the Crew-6 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) early Monday (Feb. 27) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, but a ground-system issue caused a scrub late in the countdown.
Mission teams couldn't confirm that the ground system held a full load of triethylaluminum triethylboron (TEA-TEB), the ignition source for the nine first-stage Merlin engines of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, NASA officials said in an update posted shortly after the scrub.
The weather doesn't look good for a Tuesday (Feb. 28) attempt, so SpaceX and NASA are now eyeing the next available window — a try at 12:34 a.m. EST (0534 GMT) on Thursday, "pending resolution of the technical issue preventing Monday’s launch," agency officials wrote in the update.
As its name suggests, Crew-6 is the sixth operational mission that SpaceX will launch to the ISS for NASA. It will be the ninth astronaut flight overall for the company and the fourth for the Dragon capsule Endeavour.
Four people will ride Endeavour to orbit on Crew-6: NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev and the United Arab Emirates' Sultan Al Neyadi, who will be the first person from the UAE to spend a six-month crew rotation on the ISS.
The quartet will replace the four astronauts of SpaceX's Crew-5 mission, who will return to Earth about five days after Crew-6 arrives at the orbiting lab.
As originally scheduled, the Crew-6 launch was part of a planned tripleheader for SpaceX, which also aimed to send two batches of its Starlink internet satellites to orbit on Monday, one from California's Vandenberg Space Force Base and one from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, which is next door to KSC.
But the Starlink plans have changed as well: Bad weather pushed the Vandenberg launch to no earlier than Tuesday. The Florida Starlink launch is still on for Monday, with a targeted liftoff time of 6:13 p.m. EST (2313 GMT). You can watch that here at Space.com, courtesy of SpaceX, when the time comes.
Mike Wall is the author of "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or on Facebook.