The Crew-6 mission, in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) and Elon Musk's private space company SpaceX, unexpectedly ended before it started. About two minutes before the end of the countdown clock, the launch was aborted due to an issue with the TEA-TEB ignition fluid used to fire the SpaceX Falcon 9's rocket engines during takeoff. SpaceX systems engineer Kate Tice said the decision to cancel the launch was made "as a precaution".
Less than three minutes into flight, the Crew-6 mission was aborted by the engineers inspecting the ground systems. This mission was expected to be SpaceX's seventh manned flight on behalf of NASA since 2020.
The crew of Crew-6, which will be launched in the SpaceX capsule, includes four people. Experienced NASA astronaut Stephen Bowen, who has completed three space missions, as well as Warren Hoburg, who will make his first space flight, Sultan Alneyadi, who is expected to be the second astronaut to be sent into space by the United Arab Emirates, and Russian cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev are in the crew.
After arriving at the International Space Station, Bowen, Hoburg, Fedyaev, and Alneyadi will take over from the SpaceX Crew-5 astronauts arriving at the spaceport in October 2022. The Crew-6 crew will spend up to six months in the orbiting laboratory to conduct science experiments and maintain the twenty-year-old station.
The four astronauts who settled in the Crew Dragon capsule hours before launch will now stay at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA until the next launch attempt. It is reported that the next date for the launch will be Tuesday, February 28. However, it is not yet clear whether the TEA-TEB issue will be resolved in time.
Meanwhile, the cancellation of the Crew-6 mission came just as the astronauts at the spaceport were dealing with a separate transportation problem today. In December, the Russian MS-22 Soyuz spacecraft, used to transport two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut to the space station, began leaking coolant. After the capsule was found unsafe for the astronauts to return, Russia's space agency Roscosmos launched a backup vehicle on February 23, and the empty capsule arrived at the space station.
(NASA / CNN International)