(Image via blogs.nasa.gov)
Staff Writer: Sakara De Gil-Balija
On February 26th, 2023, the launch of the SpaceX Crew-6 ship departing for the International Space Station was delayed after encountering technical issues.
SpaceX, the Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk. Since its first launch, the company has launched over two hundred missions and over one hundred and forty re-flights.
Four astronauts were scheduled to board the SpaceX Crew-6 ship to meet with the International Space Station for their scheduled six-month stay. The astronauts on board were Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, Sultan Al-Neyadi, and Andrey Fedyaev.
The ship was supposed to take off early in the morning but was rescheduled by NASA’s Florida facility, the Kennedy Space Center. The launch was rescheduled for the next day due to technical issues.
According to space.com, scientists wanted “to look at the composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs) in the Falcon 9, bottles of helium that reside in the rocket’s liquid-oxygen tank.”
Steve Stich, the manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, expressed, “we have noticed that there was blending done in some areas on the liner, and we have some testing and analysis to go make sure that those are good for flight.”
He also said that they wanted to make sure no other problems would arise because they found evidence of combustion inside one of the engines of another ship.
The ship ultimately did not pass all the re-checks and was scrapped the next day, as well.
The next attempt was scheduled to launch on March 2nd, 2023.
According to NASA commentator Gary Jordan, “teams were tracking a ground issue with TEA-TEB — that’s the ignition fluid that actually sparks with the oxidizer and allows the engines to fire.”
According to space.com, “that issue could not be resolved in time ahead of the instantaneous launch window at 1:45 AM EST (0645 GMT), leading to Monday morning’s scrub. The next launch opportunity comes on Thursday (March 2nd) at 12:34 AM EST.”
Crew-6 will be the sixth NASA-SpaceX collaboration.
The March 2nd launch was successful, and the ship docked with the International Space Station very early the following day.