For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – Finally and after overcoming a last minute technical issue with the flow of ignition fluid into the rocket engines that scrubbed Mondays launch attempt, the four person multinational team of US, Russian and UAE astronauts blasted off on the NASA SpaceX Crew-6 mission from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida – in the wee hours of Thursday, March 2, bound for the International Space Station (ISS) on a six month science expedition.
Luckily the weather was once again outstanding at launch time under ideal weather conditions and all systems were finally GO! – for the just past midnight blastoff
Liftoff from seaside Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s Kennedy Space Center of the brand new Falcon 9 integrated with the now 4x flown Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft took place Thursday, March 2, at 12:34 a.m. EST (0534 GMT).
All 9 Merlin 1-D engines ignited as planned using the TEA-TEB igniter fluid which loaded properly and fully generating 1.7 million pounds of liftoff thrust
Clear skies prevailed and we watched the rocket blaze to space for several minutes from the KSC Press site
Hordes more witnessed the stunning spectacle turning night into day from numerous location ringing the Florida Space Coast.
The Crew-6 team is now in orbit abord Endeavour following their successful launch on a northeasterly trajectory to the million pound orbiting microgravity research outpost in low Earth orbit (LEO – the International Space Station.
Following stage separation, the brand new SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage designated with tail number B1078 safely nailed a touchdown on the JRTI droneship eight minutes after liftoff.
The international crew are the agency’s sixth commercial crew rotation mission with SpaceX aboard the orbital laboratory.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket propelled Crew Dragon Endeavour, into orbit carrying NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg, along with United Arab Emirates (UAE) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev, for a science expedition aboard the space station.
They will carry out over 200 research investigations into medicine, biology, chemistry, astronomy, Earth observations and so much more during their half year living and working aboard the microgravity lab
“Congratulations to the NASA and SpaceX teams for another history-making mission to the International Space Station! The Commercial Crew Program is proof American ingenuity and leadership in space benefits all of humanity – through groundbreaking science, innovative technology, and newfound partnership,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
“Crew-6 will be busy aboard the International Space Station, conducting over 200 experiments that will help us to prepare for missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond, as well as improve life here on Earth. We look forward to seeing all that they accomplish.”
Following orbital insertion the SpaceX Crew Dragon will carry out a series of automatic and carefully choreographed spacecraft maneuvers and thruster firings – as monitored by the SpaceX mission control center in Hawthorne, California, and NASA teams will monitor space station operations throughout the flight from the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
After one day the Dragon will dock autonomously to the space-facing port of the station’s Harmony module around 1:17 a.m., Friday, March 3.
The launch was carried live on NASA TV
NASA TV also will cover the welcoming ceremony by the 7 person Expedition 68 crew already aboard the orbital outpost at about 3:40 a.m., Friday, March 3.
Expedition 68 consists of NASA astronauts Frank Rubio, Nicole Mann, and Josh Cassada, as well as JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin, and Anna Kikina.
During the brief handover of about 5 days from Crew-5 to Crew-6 there will be 11 crew members living and working in space together until Crew-5 members Mann, Cassada, Wakata, and Kikina return to Earth a few days later – weather dependent
“Conducting new scientific research, Crew-6 will help prepare for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and benefit life on Earth. Experiments will include studies of how particular materials burn in microgravity, tissue chip research on heart, brain, and cartilage functions, and an investigation that will collect microbial samples from the outside of the space station,” says NASA.
“For more than two decades, humans have continuously lived and worked aboard the International Space Station,” said Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate in Washington.
“Commercial Crew Program missions like Crew-6 are essential so we can continue to maximize the important research possible only in the space station’s unique microgravity environment. Congratulations to the NASA and SpaceX teams on a successful launch! I am looking forward to seeing the crew safely aboard the station.”
A last minute technical issue with the flow of ignition fluid into the rocket engines scrubbed the liftoff of NASA Crew-6 mission in the wee hours of Monday, Feb. 27.
The launch was scrubbed at about T Minus 2 minutes because the launch team discovered problematic indications from ground support equipment that the highly hazardous TEA-TEB (triethylaluminum triethylboron) igniter fluid used and required to ignite the Merlin 1D engines on both the first and second stage was failing to fully load onto the Falcon 9 rocket.
The scrub marks the first time this TEA-TEB loading issue has scrubbed an astronaut launch.
This was also the first scrub for technical issues for a SpaceX human spaceflight launch.
Overall Crew-6 will count as 9th human spaceflight mission for SpaceX.
They include the Demo-2 test flight, another five ISS crew rotation missions and two private astronaut missions namely Inspiration4 and Ax-1.
Meet Crew-6 (from NASA):
This will be Bowen’s fourth trip into space as a veteran of three space shuttle missions: STS-126 in 2008, STS-132 in 2010, and STS-133 in 2011. Bowen has logged more than 40 days in space, including 47 hours, 18 minutes during seven spacewalks. As mission commander, he will be responsible for all phases of flight, from launch to re-entry. He will serve as an Expedition 68-69 flight engineer aboard the station.
Bowen was born in Cohasset, Massachusetts. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and a master’s degree in ocean engineering from the Joint Program in Applied Ocean Science and Engineering offered by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Falmouth, Massachusetts. In July 2000, Bowen became the first submarine officer selected as an astronaut by NASA.
The mission will be Hoburg’s first flight since his selection as an astronaut in 2017. As pilot, he will be responsible for spacecraft systems and performance. Aboard the station, he will serve as an Expedition 68-69 flight engineer.
Hoburg is from Pittsburgh. He earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT and a doctorate in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California, Berkeley. At the time of his selection as an astronaut, Hoburg was an assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. Hoburg’s research focused on efficient methods for design of engineering systems. He also is a commercial pilot with instrument, single-engine, and multi-engine ratings.
Alneyadi will be making his first trip to space, representing the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center of the UAE. Alneyadi is the first UAE astronaut to fly on a commercial spacecraft. Once aboard the station, he will become a flight engineer for Expedition 68-69.
Fedyaev will be making his first trip to space, and also will serve as a mission specialist, working to monitor the spacecraft during the dynamic launch and re-entry phases of flight. He will be a flight engineer for Expedition 68-69.
Both NASA and SpaceX are continuing evaluation after each flight and they hope to certify Crew Dragons to fly more than 5 times.
The Falcon 9 1st stage is newly manufactured and flying for the first time on Crew-6
It is designated as tail number B1078.
Watch Ken’s commentary about NASA. Project Artemis SLS and Orion, SpaceX Falcon Heavy, Crew-5 & 6, NASA SpaceX Crew & Cargo Dragons and more
Mar 2: Fox 35 Orlando live interview about the Crew-6 mission launch to the ISS
Feb 26/27/28: On 3 local Networks CBS WKMG , ABC WFTV and Fox 35 Orlando -I did series of live and taped interviews pre and post scrub explaining why NASA SpaceX Crew6 astronaut launch to ISS was scrubbed at T Minus 2 minutes to keep the crew and rocket safe and what needs to be done to resolve the issue why TEA-TEB (triethylaluminum triethylboron) igniter fluid failed to fully load on Falcon 9 rocket
Feb 9/10: WFTV ABC News Orlando interview about SpaceX Starship successful static fire test of 31 Raptor engines at Boca Chica
Feb 8/9: WFTV ABC News Orlando interview about how NASA needs a definitive and fully funded plan to deorbit the ISS safely in case of an emergency and serious debris hit causing it to lose control b4 it’s terminated in 2030- in light of the recent Soyuz crew capsule leak from micrometeoroid impact
Jan 3/4: WFTV ABC News Orlando interview about Jan 3 SpaceX Transporter 6 launch – 1st of 2023 – and record setting year ahead with many exciting missions for NASA and private astronauts, science probes, mission, US Space Force, new rockets like ULA Vulcan & more!
Dec 28/29: Fox 35 Orlando – Watch my commentary about NASA’s fantastic success in space exploration in 2022 and ambitious schedule of whats ahead in 2023:
Dec 11/12: BBC World News TV interview about successful splashdown of NASA Orion concluding the 25 day Artemis 1 lunar test flight around the Moon and back, and how that sets up a human return to the Moon on Artemis 2 and landing on Artemis 3. Plus what’s beyond for NASA deep space exploration to Mars and the search for life beyond Earth
Watch Ken’s continuing reports about Artemis, SpaceX missions, SLS, Orion and NASA missions, SpaceX Crew and Cargo Dragons, SpaceX Axiom, JWST, DART, Lucy Asteroid mission, GOES, SpaceX Starlink, Commercial Crew and Starliner and Crew Dragon, Blue Origin and Space Tourism, and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Crew 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5, ISS, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 Perseverance and Curiosity rovers, NRO spysats and national security missions and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com
Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
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Upcoming and recent space events and talks by Ken Kremer & Jean Wright
Jan 21-28: Carnival Cruise Ship Mardi Gras: “What Happening at NASA and Space Exploration” & SpaceX Falcon 9 Starlink 5-2 launch viewing party Jan 26
Jan 12, 2023: 10 AM at Westminster Retirement Center in Orlando/Winter Park, Florida: Presentation by Jean Wright – “Sew Sister to the Stars- How the Humble Art of Sewing Transformed the World of Flight”+ Artemis 1 Moon rocket update
Nov 29 at UCF, Orlando Florida: Presentation by Jean Wright – “Sew Sister to the Stars- How the Humble Art of Sewing Transformed the World of Flight”
Mar 1, 2; Feb 4, 11, 24, 25, 26; Jan 7,11- 2023; from 7 to 9 PM Quality Inn, Titusville, FL: Join Ken and Jean for Artemis 1, Falcon Heavy and space mission and rocket launch outreach. Ask us anything. plus display our photos and space apparel items for sale