SpaceX aborts launch of four-man crew to space station just before liftoff

In a frustrating disappointment, the launch of a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule carrying a four-man crew bound for the International Space Station was called off with less than three minutes to go early Monday because of trouble with a system used to ignite the Falcon 9’s first stage engines.

SpaceX’s closeout team then returned to the pad, opened the capsule’s side hatch and helped the crew climb out of the vehicle for the drive back to NASA crew quarters. It was the first non weather-related launch scrub for a Crew Dragon spacecraft since the ferry ships began carrying astronauts to the space station in 2020.

The scrub was triggered by a problem with the engine igniter fluid, a chemical known as triethylaluminum triethylboron, or “TEA-TEB,” that reacts with liquid oxygen to spin up the Falcon 9’s nine first stage engines.

If the problem can be resolved in time, NASA and SpaceX will make another attempt to launch the Crew-6 mission at 12:34 a.m. EST Thursday. Mission managers passed up a Tuesday launch try because of expected bad weather and Wednesday was ruled out because of space station rendezvous requirements.