SpaceX scrubs crewed International Space Station mission moments before launch
A data glitch identified less than 3 minutes before Monday’s scheduled launch of the SpaceX Crew-6 mission to the ISS shut down the attempt for now
An attempted launch of SpaceX’s sixth mission to carry astronauts to the International Space Station early Monday morning from Kennedy Space Center was scrubbed with less than three minutes left in the launch countdown due to a ground-based technical glitch.
NASA reports the Crew-6 mission teams decided to stand down to investigate an issue preventing data from confirming the Falcon 9’s first-stage Merlin rockets were ready for ignition.
“I’m proud of the NASA and SpaceX teams’ focus and dedication to keeping Crew-6 safe,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in a press release following the scrub. “Human spaceflight is an inherently risky endeavor and, as always, we will fly when we are ready.”
Launch Update: @NASA’s @SpaceX Crew-6 mission from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida to the International Space Station has been scrubbed. More information is coming soon. pic.twitter.com/I7YadrGzgE— NASA Commercial Crew (@Commercial_Crew) February 27, 2023
The four crew members atop the 230-foot Falcon 9, which has become a reliable workhorse for SpaceX, included two NASA astronauts, a Russian cosmonaut and an astronaut from the United Arab Emirates. The four men were scheduled to join colleagues orbiting in the International Space Station for a long-term stay. All four will remain at Kennedy Space Center ahead of the next attempt to launch the mission, now scheduled for no earlier than Thursday, according to NASA.
According to SpaceX, once aboard the ISS, the crew will conduct over 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations in areas such as life and physical sciences to advanced materials, technology development, in-space production applications and student-led research.
The current version of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket has become one of the most reliable space vehicles ever designed, having completed 149 missions, including a record-setting 60 successful launches in 2022, according to SpaceX. The world’s “first orbital class reusable rocket” includes a system to return and land the booster stage of the launch system for reuse, a move that the company says shaves millions of dollars off launch costs for its customers.
The first iteration of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket debuted in 2010. Since that time, the Falcon 9 has flown over 200 missions, delivering satellites for its sister company Starlink and flying missions for a wide variety of customers, including NASA, the U.S. Space Force and a variety of private companies and international government entities.
Crew-6 includes NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren “Woody” Hoburg, who will serve as spacecraft commander and pilot, respectively, and UAE astronaut Sultan Alneyadi and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev, who will serve as mission specialists.
NASA reports the next launch attempt for the Crew-6 mission from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral will occur no earlier than 12:34 a.m. EST Thursday, March 2, pending resolution of the technical issue preventing Monday’s launch.