UAE - After a three-day delay, it’s a ‘Go’ for the launch of UAE astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi’s mission to space. Nasa’s Crew-6 mission to the International Space Station will blast off at 12.34am EST (9.34am UAE time) on Thursday, March 2, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft from Launch Complex 39A from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.
The announcement came after a launch readiness review, weather briefing, and mission management meeting on February 28.
Mission teams stood down from a February 27 launch attempt to review an “unusual data signature” in the ignition fluid used to start the Falcon 9’s nine first stage kerosene/liquid oxygen Merlin 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,” Nasa said in a statement.
“After a thorough review of the data and ground system, NASA and SpaceX 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.”
Officials with Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s 45th Weather Squadron predicted a 95 per cent chance of favourable weather conditions for the Crew-6 launch.
Nasa astronauts Stephen Bowen, mission commander, and Warren Hoburg, pilot, along with UAE astronaut AlNeyadi and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev, who join as mission specialists, will travel to the space station on a six-month mission.
After an approximate 24.5-hour space flight, the crew will dock to the space-facing port of the microgravity laboratory’s Harmony module about 10am (UAE time).
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