Crew-6 Launch Scrubbed

Crew-6 Launch Scrubbed

NASA and SpaceX had to scrub the launch of Crew-6 about two minutes before launch due to a technical problem with the Falcon 9 rocket — the TEA-TEB ingiter fluid for the Merlin engines. Another attempt is tentatively scheduled for March 2 at 12:34 am ET pending resolution of the TEA-TEB issue.

The countdown was proceeding smoothly for launch of the four-person crew at 1:45 am ET until about five minutes before the scheduled liftoff (T-5:00) when SpaceX told the crew “for awareness” that they were troubleshooting an issue with the TEA-TEB fluid that ignites the Merlin engines. TEA-TEB is triethylaluminum-triethylborane and sparks with the oxidizer to allow the engines to fire. The launch was scrubbed at T-2:14.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket with Crew Dragon Endeavour on top awaiting launch at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A, February 27, 2023. Screengrab. The launch was scrubbed two minutes 14 seconds before the planned liftoff.
The Crew-6 crew members in Crew Dragon Endeavor awaiting launch February 27, 2023 about 1:30 am ET. Screengrab. The launch was scrubbed two minutes 14 seconds before launch.


NASA’s Derrol Nail said on the launch broadcast that the SpaceX team “could not provide sufficient confidence of a full load of TEA-TEB.”

A backup launch opportunity is available tomorrow, February 28, at 1:22:20 am ET, but yesterday launch weather officer Mike McAleenan, U.S. Space Force 45th Weather Squadron, said abort weather was not expected to be favorable. Abort weather is the weather along the spacecraft’s path up the East Coast and over towards Ireland. Crew Dragon can abort at any time on the way to orbit if there’s a problem so the weather has to be good in case it must splash down in the ocean.

Launch cannot take place on March 1 for orbital dynamics reasons. March 2, 3 and 4 are possibilities.

UPDATE, February 27, 8:30 am ET: NASA says they will try again March 2 at 12:34 am ET if they are able to resolve the issue by then.

Crew-6 arrives at Kennedy Space Center, February 21, 2023, L-R: Andrey Fedyaev (Roscosmos), Sultan Alneyadi (UAE), Woody Hoburg (NASA), and Steve Bowen (NASA). Photo credit: NASA

Update: NASA initially said the post-launch press conference scheduled for around 3:30-4:00 am ET would still take place, but later reversed that and said they would post more information on the Crew-6 blog.

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