VIDEO: SpaceX launches latest space station crew to orbit - GulfToday

VIDEO: SpaceX launches latest space station crew to orbit


The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft sits ahead of liftoff from pad 39A for the Crew-6 mission at Kennedy Space Center. AFP

Elon Musk's rocket company SpaceX launched a four-person crew on a trip to the International Space Station early on Thursday, with a Russian cosmonaut and United Arab Emirates astronaut joining two NASA crewmates on the flight.

The SpaceX launch vehicle, consisting of a Falcon 9 rocket topped with an autonomously operated Crew Dragon capsule called Endeavour, lifted off at 12:34 a.m. EST (0534 GMT) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

A live NASA webcast showed the 25-storey-tall spacecraft ascending from the launch tower as its nine Merlin engines roared to life in billowing clouds of vapour and a reddish fireball that lit up the pre-dawn sky.

The launch was expected to accelerate the Crew Dragon to an orbital velocity of 17,500 miles per hour (28,164 kph), more than 22 times the speed of sound.

The flight came 72 hours after an initial launch attempt was scrubbed in the final minutes of countdown early on Monday due to a clog in the flow of engine-ignition fluid. NASA said the problem was fixed by replacing a clogged filter and purging the system.


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The trip to the International Space Station (ISS), a laboratory orbiting some 250 miles (420 km) above Earth, was expected to take nearly 25 hours, with rendezvous planned for about 1:15 a.m. EST (0615 GMT) on Friday as the crew begins a six-month science mission in microgravity.

Designated Crew 6, the mission marks the sixth long-term ISS team that NASA has flown aboard SpaceX since the private rocket venture founded by Musk - billionaire CEO of electric car maker Tesla and social media platform Twitter - began sending American astronauts to orbit in May 2020.

Earlier, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) has announced that, in collaboration with international partners, all systems are prepared for the launch of the Crew-6 mission on March 2 (Thursday) at 09:34 UAE Time.

MBRSC stated that the weather is 95 per cent favourable for launch, and teams continue to monitor it.

The Space Centre has extended an invitation to the public to observe the launch of the UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi to the International Space Station. Live coverage will begin at 06:00 UAE time, and the mission will launch at 09:34. Link to the live coverage:

Nasa has called off SpaceX Crew-6 launch to ISS in final minutes of countdown on Monday citing ground system issue.

NeyadiISS Neyadi talks to family members after leaving the Operations and Checkout building for a trip to Launch Pad 39-A. AP

Nasa said on Twitter, “Today’s Crew6 launch has been scrubbed due to an issue with ground systems. Stand by for details on a new launch date and time.”

Mission teams decided to stand down to investigate an issue preventing data from confirming a full load of the ignition source for the Falcon 9 first stage Merlin engines, triethylaluminum triethylboron (or TEA-TEB).

The UAE is ready to make history and shoot for the stars again, inspired by the ambitions of the nation’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Al Neyadi will become the second Emirati to take the UAE flag to Space, spending 180 days on board the orbiting laboratory of the International Space Station (ISS) alongside crew mates from Roscosmos and Nasa.

UAE Mission 2, the longest Arab Space mission in history, will significantly contribute to humanity’s understanding of life on and beyond Earth, three years after the Hope Probe.

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