SpaceX’s mission to send NASA astronauts to the International Space Station was canceled at the last minute

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(CNN) SpaceX and NASA have suspended astronaut launches to the International Space Station after a problem was detected with the rocket’s ground system.

With about two minutes left on the countdown clock, the launch was aborted by a problem with the TEA-TEB ignition fluid, which is used to ignite the SpaceX Falcon 9’s rocket engines during liftoff.

In comments on Monday’s webcast, Kate Tice, a SpaceX systems engineer, said the decision to abort the launch was made “out of an abundance of caution.”

The four astronauts waited for the shuttle to defuel before evacuating.

The four astronauts, strapped into their Crew Dragon capsule atop the rocket hours before launch, disembarked from the shuttle after waiting. A 230-foot-tall (70-meter) rocket is required to eject its fuel. They will remain on base at Kennedy Space Center until the next launch attempt.

NASA said it plans to launch the SpaceX Crew-6 mission at 12:34 a.m. Thursday, March 2, “pending the resolution of a technical issue preventing Monday’s launch.”

The agency said it was skipping Tuesday’s launch opportunity due to unfavorable weather forecasts.

“I am proud of the focus and dedication of the NASA and SpaceX teams in keeping Crew-6 safe,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement. Blog.

“Human spaceflight is an inherently risky endeavor, and as always, we’ll fly when we’re ready.”

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule were scheduled to lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida at 1:45 a.m. Monday. But the clock was stopped at less than three minutes by the engineers overseeing the ground systems.

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The mission is expected to mark SpaceX’s seventh astronaut flight on behalf of NASA since 2020.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is pictured shortly after liftoff from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday.

The Crew-6 team is about to start SpaceX capsule NASA astronauts include Stephen Bowen, a veteran of three space shuttle missions, first-timer Warren Hoberg, as well as Sultan Alnyadi, the second astronaut from the United Arab Emirates, and Russian cosmonaut Andrey Fedayev.

Once Bowen, Hoburg, Fedyaev and Alneyadi board the ISS, they will take over operations from SpaceX Crew-5 astronauts. It arrived at the space station in October 2022.

They will spend up to six months in the orbiting lab, conducting science experiments and maintaining the two-decade-old station.

The mission comes as astronauts currently aboard the ISS face a unique transportation problem.

In December, a Russian Soyuz spacecraft used to transport two astronauts and a NASA astronaut to the space station developed a coolant leak. After the capsule was deemed unsafe for returning astronauts, Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, It launched a replacement vehicle on February 23. It was the ISS on Saturday.

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