SpaceX attempted to launch the sixth operational NASA Commercial Crew Program (Crew-6) mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on the early morning of Monday, February 27, but the mission was scrubbed 2.5 minutes before liftoff. NASA said that the Crew-6 launch was delayed due to a rocket ignition issue. “Mission teams stood down from a Feb. 27 launch attempt to review an unusual data signature related to confirming a proper bleed in of pad supplied fluid known as triethylaluminum triethylboron (TEA-TEB). TEA-TEB is an ignition fluid used to start the Falcon 9’s nine first stage kerosene/liquid oxygen Merlin engines,” explained NASA. “The bleed-in process ensures there is an adequate supply of this fluid at each engine to mix with liquid oxygen to start the engines. During prelaunch, the TEA-TEB fluid – which originates in a ground supply tank – flows to the rocket’s interface and back to a catch tank to remove gas from the ground plumbing. During engine start, the fluid then flows to the engines for ignition. Flow into the catch tank is one of several parameters used to determine that the fluid has been properly bled into the system,” the agency shared.
The Crew-6 crewmembers are: NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg, United Arab Emirates (UAE) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev. They remained aboard Crew Dragon for around an hour after the mission was called off, until SpaceX unloaded all the RP-1 kerosene fuel out of the Falcon 9 rocket to safely get the astronauts out of the spacecraft. “I’m proud of the NASA and SpaceX teams’ focus and dedication to keeping Crew-6 safe,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Human spaceflight is an inherently risky endeavor and, as always, we will fly when we are ready.”
SpaceX teams proceeded to inspect the rocket and ground systems. After a thorough review, NASA says they “determined there was a reduced flow back to the ground TEA-TEB catch tank due to a clogged ground filter. This clogged filter fully-explained the signature observed on the launch attempt. SpaceX teams replaced the filter, purged the TEA-TEB line with nitrogen, and verified the lines are clean and ready for launch.”
NASA confirmed a new launch date during a launch readiness review conference. Crew-6 is now scheduled to liftoff at 12:34 a.m. ET on Thursday, March 2nd, atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex-39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Weather in Florida’s Atlantic coast is 95% favorable according to the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s 45th Weather Squadron. If liftoff goes as scheduled, the astronauts are expected to arrive at the ISS at about 1:17 a.m on Friday, March 3rd. You can watch a Live broadcast of the Crew-6 mission in the video linked below, starting at 9:00 p.m. ET today (March 1st).
VIDEO: NASA TV LIVE BROADCAST
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About the Author
Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.