After NASA and SpaceX scrubbed the launch of Crew-6 just a couple of minutes before lift-off early on Monday morning, officials have announced they’re now targeting Thursday for the next launch effort.
The team called off Monday’s launch attempt at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida when it suddenly encountered an issue in the ground systems affecting the loading of the ignition fluids for the Falcon 9 rocket that will carry the astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) inside the Crew Dragon Endeavour capsule.
They’re now aiming to launch the crew at 12:34 a.m. ET on Thursday, March 2 (9:34 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1).
Traveling aboard the Crew Dragon as part of Crew-6 will be NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg, United Arab Emirates astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev.
Following in the footsteps of numerous international astronauts who’ve traveled to the ISS over the last two decades, they’ll spend about six months aboard the orbital outpost, living and working in microgravity conditions.
Much of their time will be spent performing carefully designed science experiments, among them a fascinating effort that will involve gathering samples of bacteria and fungi from surfaces on the outside of the space station.
The experiment will investigate whether any microbes exist around parts of the station such as its life support system vents, and try to determine how easily they can survive and whether they can spread. This should help planners of future crewed missions into deep space better understand the potential dangers of the human contamination of environments.
The crew will also perform spacewalks for the upgrade and maintenance of the station.
Supposing the Crew-6 mission gets underway early on Thursday morning ET, the beginning of it will be live streamed by NASA on its YouTube channel. The docking procedure and welcome ceremony at the space station will also be broadcast when it takes place about 24 hours later.