NASA and SpaceX cancel Crew-6 launch to ISS at the last minute

Last week, NASA announced plans to delay the Crew-6 launch to the ISS one more day, holding the launch of the next four-astronaut mission to the station until early Monday morning. Now that Monday morning has come, though, NASA and SpaceX both called off the mission right before launch, citing issues with the Falcon 9 rocket’s igniter as the cause.

The newest delay of the launch to the International Space Station was just two minutes from lift-off, with the astronauts already strapped in and ready for the big event. The issue, according to after-launch briefings was caused by the igniter fluid. The technical issue was first reported around five minutes before the Crew-6 launch to the ISS, but technicians were unable to clear it before liftoff.

SpaceX Docking to ISS
SpaceX docking to the International Space Station. Image source: wowinside/Adobe and NASA

The mission isn’t completely scrubbed, however. Much like other ventures of this nature, the Crew-6 launch has a backup opportunity set for Tuesday, February 28. However, the weather on Tuesday is expected to be less than ideal. As such, it’s likely we could see another delay to the Crew-6 launch to the ISS.

SpaceX shared a tweet, citing the incident’s cause as an issue with the TEA-TEB ground system. TEA-TEB is a combination of triethylaluminum (TEA) and triethylborane (TEB) which act as the combustion system for the engines onboard the Falcon 9 rocket. Without TEA-TEB working correctly, the igniters wouldn’t light the engines, allowing the Crew-6 launch to the ISS to actually liftoff.

There is some good news out of the planned launches for this week, though. Over the weekend, Soyuz MS-23 launched. The MS-23 is part of a Russian rescue mission to the ISS, which will see the new spacecraft replacing a damaged MS-22, which experienced a terrible leak earlier this year. So, while the Crew-6 launch to the ISS may not have lifted off, at least the ISS does have some good news to count on.

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