SpaceX is forced to CANCEL its astronaut launch just two minutes before lift-off following a technical problem with the engine ignition system
- SpaceX Dragon Crew-6 mission was set to depart Florida at 1:45am (06:45 GMT)
- It was carrying two NASA astronauts, a Russian cosmonaut and an Emirati
- But just two minutes before lift-off, the launch was called off, or ‘scrubbed’
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch to the International Space Station was postponed just two minutes before lift-off, with officials citing problems with ground systems.
The SpaceX Dragon Crew-6 mission was scheduled to depart the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 1:45 am (06:45 GMT), carrying two NASA astronauts, a Russian cosmonaut and the second Emirati to voyage to space.
But just two minutes before lift-off, the launch was called off, or ‘scrubbed’.
‘Today’s #Crew6 launch has been scrubbed due to an issue with ground systems,’ NASA posted on Twitter.
SpaceX said shortly after that it had begun unloading fuel from the rocket and the crew would disembark.
The SpaceX Dragon Crew-6 mission was scheduled to depart the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 1:45 am (06:45 GMT), carrying two NASA astronauts, a Russian cosmonaut and the second Emirati to voyage to space. From left, Andrey Fedyaev, Warren ‘Woody’ Hoburg, Stephen Bowen, and Sultan Alneyadi
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch to the International Space Station was postponed just two minutes before lift-off, with officials citing problems with ground systems
The launch will be rescheduled for a later date.
Watch the most powerful rocket EVER built fire up its engines
The so-called ‘static fire’ – carried out at a launch pad in south Texas – involved the simultaneous igniting of 31 out of 33 of the engines at the base of the $3 billion (£2.4 billion) vehicle’s lower-segment
NASA’s Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg, Russia’s Andrey Fedyaev and Sultan al-Neyadi of the United Arab Emirates are to spend six months on the orbiting station.
Neyadi, 41, will be the fourth astronaut from an Arab country and the second from the oil-rich UAE to journey to space; his compatriot Hazzaa al-Mansoori flew an eight-day mission in 2019.
Neyadi described the upcoming mission as a ‘great honor.’
Hoburg, the Endeavour pilot, and Fedyaev, the Russian mission specialist, will also be making their first space flights.
Fedyaev is the second Russian cosmonaut to fly to the ISS aboard a SpaceX rocket.
NASA astronauts fly regularly to the station on Russian Soyuz craft.
Space has remained a rare venue of cooperation between Moscow and Washington since the Russian offensive in Ukraine placed the two in sharp opposition.
Such exchanges have continued despite those tensions.
Bowen, a veteran of three space shuttle missions, said politics rarely come up while in space.
‘We’re all professionals. We keep focused on the mission itself,’ the commander said. ‘It’s always been a great relationship we’ve had with cosmonauts once we get to space.’
While aboard the ISS, the Crew-6 members will conduct dozens of experiments including studying how materials burn in microgravity and researching heart, brain and cartilage functions.
NASA’s Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg, Russia’s Andrey Fedyaev and Sultan al-Neyadi of the United Arab Emirates are to spend six months on the orbiting station
Just two minutes before lift-off, the launch was called off, or ‘scrubbed’. SpaceX said shortly after that it had begun unloading fuel from the rocket and the crew would disembark
The current crew is the sixth to be transported by a SpaceX rocket to the ISS. The Endeavour capsule has flown into space three times.
NASA pays SpaceX to ferry astronauts to the ISS roughly every six months.
The space agency expects Crew-6 to have a handover of several days with the four members of Crew-5, who have been on the ISS since October. Crew-5 will then return to Earth.
Also aboard the ISS are cosmonauts Dmitry Petelin and Sergei Prokopyev, as well as NASA astronaut Frank Rubio.
They had been scheduled to return home on March 28 but the cooling system of their Soyuz MS-22 capsule was damaged by a tiny meteoroid in December while docked with the ISS.
An uncrewed Russian Soyuz capsule, MS-23, took off on Friday from Kazakhstan to bring the three astronauts home. They are now scheduled to return to Earth in September.
Construction of the ISS began in 1998 at a time of increased US-Russia cooperation following the Cold War space race.
Russia has been using the aging but reliable Soyuz capsules to ferry astronauts into space since the 1960s.
But in recent years, Russia’s space program has been beset by a litany of problems that have led to the loss of satellites and vehicles.
EXPLAINED: THE $100 BILLION INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION SITS 250 MILES ABOVE THE EARTH
The International Space Station (ISS) is a $100 billion (£80 billion) science and engineering laboratory that orbits 250 miles (400 km) above Earth.
It has been permanently staffed by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts since November 2000.
Crews have come mainly from the US and Russia, but the Japanese space agency JAXA and European space agency ESA have also sent astronauts.
The International Space Station has been continuously occupied for more than 20 years and has been expended with multiple new modules added and upgrades to systems
Research conducted aboard the ISS often requires one or more of the unusual conditions present in low Earth orbit, such as low-gravity or oxygen.
ISS studies have investigated human research, space medicine, life sciences, physical sciences, astronomy and meteorology.
The US space agency, NASA, spends about $3 billion (£2.4 billion) a year on the space station program, with the remaining funding coming from international partners, including Europe, Russia and Japan.
So far 244 individuals from 19 countries have visited the station, and among them eight private citizens who spent up to $50 million for their visit.
There is an ongoing debate about the future of the station beyond 2025, when it is thought some of the original structure will reach ‘end of life’.
Russia, a major partner in the station, plans to launch its own orbital platform around then, with Axiom Space, a private firm, planning to send its own modules for purely commercial use to the station at the same time.
NASA, ESA, JAXA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) are working together to build a space station in orbit around the moon, and Russia and China are working on a similar project, that would also include a base on the surface.
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