UAE space mission launch is scheduled for March 2 after February scratch

NASA and SpaceX are planning to launch the Arab world's first long-term space mission Thursday after it was scratched last month. 

The new launch was announced Wednesday for a March 2 takeoff shortly after midnight at 12:34 EST at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Crew-6 mission will blast off using the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft. 

The crew includes Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi and Russian Andrey Fedyaev in addition to NASA's Warren Hoburg and Stephen Bowen and they will conduct 19 experiments aboard the International Space Station (ISS) for six months.

The Feb. 27 launch was scratched "to review an unusual data signature related to the ignition fluid," according to NASA officials. 

"After a thorough review of the data and ground system, both NASA and SpaceX teams identified a clogged filter on the ground as the cause," NASA said in a statement. 

"SpaceX teams replaced the filter ... and verified the lines are clean and ready for the next launch attempt early Thursday morning."

This is the sixth crew rotation mission using the SpaceX Dragon and Falcon 9 rocket to travel to the ISS as part of the agency's Commercial Crew Program.

The UAE launched its astronaut program in 2017 to train and prepare a team of Emiratis to be sent on various scientific missions to space.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt