NASA’s Crew-6 Launch “GO” after Launch Readiness Review

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission has been given the green light for launch to the International Space Station (ISS) after a launch readiness review, weather briefing, and mission management meeting on February 28.

The launch is set for 12:34 a.m. EST on Thursday, March 2, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The mission teams had to stand down from a previous launch attempt on February 27 due to an unusual data signature related to confirming the proper bleed in of pad supplied fluid known as triethylaluminum triethylboron (TEA-TEB).

This ignition fluid is used to start the Falcon 9’s nine first stage kerosene/liquid oxygen Merlin engines. During prelaunch, the fluid flows from the ground supply tank 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.

NASA and SpaceX have reviewed the data and ground system and discovered that there was a reduced flow back to the ground TEA-TEB catch tank due to a clogged ground filter, which fully-explained the signature observed on the launch attempt. The SpaceX team replaced the filter, purged the TEA-TEB line with nitrogen, and verified the lines were clean and ready for launch.

The weather officials predict a 95% chance of favorable weather conditions for the Crew-6 launch, with the flight through precipitation rule serving as the primary weather concern.

NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen, mission commander, and Warren Hoburg, pilot, along with UAE astronaut Sultan Alneyadi and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev, who join as mission specialists, will travel to the space station for a science expedition mission.

They will fly aboard the Dragon spacecraft named Endeavour, which previously flew NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2, and Axiom Mission 1 astronauts.

The crew will dock to the space-facing port of the Harmony module of the ISS about 24.5 hours after launch. Hatch opening is targeted for approximately 3:27 a.m. on March 3, followed by the welcome ceremony about 3:40 a.m. The arrival coverage will begin on NASA TV and the agency’s website at 11:30 p.m. on March 2.

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