Editorial Science (EFE).- NASA has decided to postpone at the last moment the takeoff of the Crew-6 manned mission to the International Space Station (ISS), where its four astronauts plan to spend at least six months carrying out more than 200 scientific experiments and maintenance tasks.
The flight has been canceled due to a problem with ground systems, according to NASA and the SpaceX company, which owns the rocket and the astronaut transport ship.
The next attempt will be on March 2.
Both the crew and the vehicles – the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon Endeavor capsule – are in good condition.
“I am proud of the focus and dedication of the NASA and SpaceX teams in 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.”
Two minutes before launch
The decision to cancel the flight was made two minutes and thirty seconds before the launch of the Falcon 9, which was to take off at 1:45 a.m. Eastern time (0645 GMT) from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Town. Canaveral (Florida), propelling the Dragon Endeavor capsule with the four astronauts.
Image of the exterior of the Kennedy Space Center, in Cape Canaveral (Florida). EFE/EPA/Cristobal Herrera-Ulashkevich
They are the Americans Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg, from NASA, Sultan Alneyadi, from the space agency of the United Arab Emirates, and Andrey Fedyaev, from the Russian Roscosmos.
Although the first opportunity for a new launch was tomorrow, at 1:22 a.m. Eastern United States (6:22 a.m. GMT), NASA has decided to try again on March 2.
Unfavorable weather on February 28 means the next launch attempt will be at 12:34 am (Eastern) on March 2 (5:34 GMT), pending resolution of the technical problem, NASA says. on their website and on their Twitter accounts.
Liftoff has already been postponed for the first time from February 26 to 27 to do an additional thermal analysis of the panels on the exterior of the Dragon capsule, as well as a review of some helium canisters on the Falcon 9 rocket.
A 6 month mission
Once the launch takes place and the four astronauts arrive at the space station, they will remain there for about six months.
The crew will carry out new scientific investigations to prepare for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit.
The experiments will include studies on how certain materials burn in microgravity and on the functions of the heart, brain and cartilage; In addition, an investigation will collect microbial samples from the space station’s vents.
The goal is to see if the ISS is releasing microorganisms into space and, if so, how many and how far they could travel.
The results of this experiment could alter the design of future space missions and equipment such as space suits to limit possible contamination.
After takeoff and once in the ISS orbit, the capsule with the four astronauts will perform a series of autonomous maneuvers to dock with the space station’s Harmony module.
The four members of Crew-6 will be received by the crew members of Expedition 68 on board the orbital laboratory and a few days later the members of the Crew-5 mission will begin their return trip to Earth, with a scheduled splashdown off the Florida shores.