CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX’s Crew-6 astronaut mission is still looking good to launch on Monday (Feb. 27).
NASA and SpaceX held a prelaunch teleconference late on Saturday (Feb. 25) to discuss the upcoming mission that will see the Crew Dragon Endeavour launch to the International Space Station (ISS) atop a Falcon 9 rocket. Earlier this week, the rocket and its spacecraft were rolled out to Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Liftoff is set for Monday at 1:45 a.m. EST (0645 GMT).
NASA’s Dana Weigel, deputy ISS program manager, said the Crew-6 Flight Readiness Review (FRR) put the mission “on track” for a launch Monday morning. “The crews are doing great. Spirits are high and they are they are ready to go,” Weigel said.
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Benji Reed, senior director of SpaceX’s Human Spaceflight Program, added that the rocket and spacecraft are likewise ready to fly. “We will not fly until we’re ready. We won’t fly until the hardware is ready,” said Reed. “We’ve done multiple reviews and we’ll continue to look at the data, the hardware and ensure that we’re ready to fly these great folks and bring them home to their families when it’s time.”
Brian Cizek, launch weather officer for the U.S. Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron, said there’s a 95% chance of favorable weather for the planned launch window. “Just a cumulus cloud maybe drifting at the wrong time, but very unlikely,” Cizek added.
Crew-6 will see four crewmembers launch to the International Space Station: NASA astronauts Warren “Woody” Hoburg and Stephen Bowen, the United Arab Emirates’ Sultan Al-Neyadi, and Andrey Fedyaev of Russian space agency Roscosmos. Alneyadi will become the first astronaut from the UAE to fly a long-duration mission in space.
The crewmembers of SpaceX’s next astronaut flight arrived at KSC earlier this week and held a press conference that underscored the excitement over the upcoming mission. “We can’t thank everybody enough that helped prepare us for this mission,” Al-Neyadi said during the event. “I can’t ask for more of a team. I think we are ready physically, mentally and technically. And we can’t wait to launch to space and conduct the mission.”
Crew Dragon Endeavour will dock with the ISS early on Feb. 28, some 24 hours after launching. There is already another SpaceX Dragon at the ISS, Endurance, which launched to the orbital laboratory on the Crew-5 mission on Oct. 5, 2022.
Endurance is now scheduled to depart the space station no earlier than March 6 after a normal five-day handover period, Weigel said during Saturday’s teleconference.
The mission will be SpaceX’s ninth overall crewed flight. Crew-6 is the fourth crewed flight to the ISS for Crew Dragon Endeavour. The capsule also flew SpaceX’s historic first crewed flight, the Demo-2 mission in 2020; the Crew-2 mission in 2021; and Ax-1 in 2022, the first private crewed mission to the ISS.