SpaceX's next astronaut mission will be groundbound for at least one extra day.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was scheduled to launch the Crew-6 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA early Monday morning (Feb. 27) from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. But the launch team called the effort off less than 2.5 minutes before T-0, citing a ground-system issue.
"Teams were tracking a ground issue with TEA-TEB — that's the ignition fluid that actually sparks with the oxidizer and allows the engines to fire," NASA commentator Gary Jordan said during the agency's webcast of Monday's launch attempt.
That issue could not resolved in time ahead of the instantanteous launch window at 1:45 a.m. EST (0645 GMT), leading to Monday morning's scrub. The next launch opportunity comes on Thursday (March 2) at 12:34 a.m. EST (0534 GMT); weather on Tuesday (Feb. 28), the first possible opportunity before that, is not favorable for launch, according to NASA and SpaceX. Officials with both entities will hold a press conference at some point, although NASA did not release timing in a blog post.
Crew-6 will send NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) Sultan Al Neyadi and Russian cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev toward the ISS aboard the Dragon capsule Endeavour.
It's a historic mission; Al Neyadi will become the first person from the UAE to spend a long-duration mission aboard the ISS. His countryman Hazzaa Ali Almansoori traveled to the orbiting lab in 2019 but spent just eight days off Earth.
Crew-6 will be the sixth operational astronaut mission that SpaceX flies for NASA's Commercial Crew Program and the company's ninth crewed flight overall. It will be the fourth crewed mission to the ISS for the capsule Endeavour, which also flew the Demo-2 test flight in 2020, Crew-2 in 2021 and the all-private Ax-1 mission in April 2022.
The next day or so is shaping up to be very busy for SpaceX. The company plans to launch two batches of its Starlink internet satellites less than an hour apart on Monday, one from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 1:38 p.m. EST (1838 GMT) and the other from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California at 2:31 p.m. EST (1931 GMT).
Should the launch go on Thursday, docking with the ISS is scheduled for Friday, March 3 at 1:11 a.m. EST (0611 GMT), according to the NASA Television schedule.
This story was updated at 8:28 a.m. EST Feb. 27 with a new launch date of March 2.
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.
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Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with Space.com and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.
The reliability of the falcon 9 is so high that I'm surprised SpaceX knew how to scrub.Reply