Postponement of a SpaceX mission to the International Space Station

A Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, United States, February 27, 2023. JOE SKIPPER / REUTERS

Crew-6’s launch was canceled two minutes before takeoff, due to a ground systems problem.

The takeoff scheduled for early Monday, February 27, of a SpaceX rocket from Florida to reach the International Space Station was canceled at the last moment due to a problem with ground systems, NASA announced.

Liftoff was scheduled from Kennedy Space Center this Monday at 1:45 a.m. (6:45 a.m. Paris time) with a multicultural crew on board, Crew-6, the sixth to visit the space station during a regular rotation mission provided by SpaceX.

“The launch of #Crew6 (…) has been cancelled”

The Dragon capsule on board which was to travel the crew, composed of two American astronauts, a Russian cosmonaut and an Emirati astronaut, was to dock with the ISS after a trip of about a day. But two minutes before takeoff, it was canceled. “Today’s #Crew6 launch was canceled due to ground systems issueNASA tweeted.

SpaceX said shortly after it began unloading fuel from the rocket and clarified that the crew would disembark. The launch will be postponed to a later date. Originally scheduled for Sunday February 26, it had already been postponed for 24 hours on Tuesday by NASA. Americans Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg, Russian Andrei Fediaev and Emirati Sultan al-Neyadi are to spend six months in the ISS.

“It is a great honor to be here”

At 41, Sultan al-Neyadi will become the fourth astronaut from an Arab country in history, the second Emirati, but the first from his country to spend six months in space. His compatriot Hazzaa al-Mansoori had served an eight-day mission in 2019. “We are physically, mentally and technically readySultan al-Neyadi told reporters upon arriving at the space center on Tuesday. “It’s a great honor to be here, and even a privilege“.

Russian astronaut Andrei Fedyaev is also part of the mission at a time when tensions between Washington and Moscow are at their highest, a year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It was already planned before the Moscow offensive for Russians to travel with SpaceX and Americans with Russian Soyuz ships (an exchange program maintained despite extreme diplomatic tensions). The space station is one of the few fields of cooperation still in progress between the two countries.

Crew-5 replaced by Crew-6

Asked about the impact of these political tensions on the crew, the mission commander, the American Stephen Bowen, replied on Tuesday that he was “rare for these issues to come up in everyday conversation“, and that he and his teammates remained”focused on the mission“. The capsule carrying the crew, named Endeavour, has already flown three times in space.

NASA hires the services of the American company SpaceX to send its astronauts approximately every six months to the flying laboratory. They conduct scientific experiments there and ensure the maintenance of the station, which has been permanently inhabited for more than 22 years. Crew-6 will replace the four members of Crew-5 (two Americans, a Russian and a Japanese), who arrived in October 2022 and who will return to Earth aboard their own SpaceX ship, after a few days of handover.

On board the ISS are also three other passengers (two Russians and an American), who arrived on board a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. The latter suffered a leak last December, which made it dangerous for the three passengers to return to Earth on board. The Russian space agency Roscomos therefore sent a rescue vessel, which docked safely with the ISS on Saturday.

TO HAVE ALSO – SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket lifts off for the first time in three years

Source link -94