SpaceX Mission to International Space Station Delayed – 02/27/2023 at 15:17

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is scrapped ahead of its February 27, 2023 launch at Kennedy Space Center, Florida (AFP/Jim WATSON)

NASA announced that the launch scheduled for early Monday of a SpaceX rocket from Florida to reach the International Space Station was canceled at the last minute due to a ground systems problem and was pushed back to March 2.

Take-off from the Kennedy Space Center on Monday is scheduled for 1:45 am (0645 GMT) with the Crew-6 crew of two American astronauts, a Russian astronaut and an Emirati astronaut who must spend six months on the International Space Station.

Their Dragon capsule was scheduled to dock with the space station after about a day’s flight for the sixth rotating mission provided by SpaceX, Elon Musk’s company.

But two minutes before take-off, it was cancelled. “Today’s #Crew6 launch has been canceled due to a ground systems issue,” NASA wrote on Twitter.

SpaceX drained the fuel from its Falcon 9 rocket and the crew disembarked, NASA said in a press release specifying that a new launch attempt was scheduled for Thursday, March 2 at 00:34 (05:34 GMT), “according to the resolution of the technical issue that prevented Absolutely no on Monday.”

Dimensions and specifications of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule (AFP/)

“I am proud of the interest and commitment of the NASA and SpaceX teams for the safety of Crew-6,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in the press release. “Human spaceflight is an inherently risky business, and as always, we’ll fly when we’re ready.”

Originally scheduled for Sunday, the flight was actually delayed by 24 hours on Tuesday by NASA.

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Americans Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburgh, Russian Andrei Fedyaev and Sultan Al Neyadi of the Emirates should spend six months on the International Space Station.

Sultan Al Neyadi, 41, will become the fourth astronaut from an Arab country in history, the second Emirati, and the first from his country to spend six months in space. His compatriot Hazzaa Al-Mansoori undertook the eight-day mission in 2019.

“We are ready physically, mentally and technically,” Sultan Al Neyadi told reporters upon his arrival at the space center on Tuesday. “It is a great honor to be here, even a privilege.”

Warren Hoburgh and Andrei Fedyaev also made their first spaceflight.

Mr. Vidaev is also the second Russian cosmonaut to fly on a Space X rocket to the International Space Station as part of an exchange program that has been maintained despite tensions between Washington and Moscow, a year after Russia’s invasion in Ukraine.

It was already planned before the Moscow attack that the Russians would fly with SpaceX and the Americans on Russian Soyuz ships. The space station is one of the few areas of cooperation still ongoing between the two countries.

Asked about the impact of these political tensions on the crew, US mission commander Stephen Bowen said Tuesday that “it’s rare that these issues come up in daily conversations,” and that he and his colleagues remained “focused on a mission.”

The crew capsule, called Endeavor, has flown into space three times.

NASA hires the services of the American company SpaceX to send its astronauts to the flight laboratory approximately every six months.

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 Crew-5 members (two Americans, one Russian and one Japanese), who arrived in October 2022 and will return to Earth on their SpaceX ship, a few days after delivery.

On board the International Space Station, there are also three other passengers (two Russians and an American) who arrived on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

The latter suffered a leak last December, making it dangerous for them to return to Earth aboard. So the Russian space agency Roscomos sent a rescue ship, which docked safely to the International Space Station on Saturday.

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