SpaceX Launches New Crew to Space Station After Delay

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SpaceX and NASA blasted four astronauts into space from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida Thursday. This came three days after the agencies called off a launch attempt due to a technical issue. Photo: Chandan Khanna/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Updated March 2, 2023 1:01 am ET

SpaceX launched a crew to the International Space Station early Thursday, a makeup flight for a mission that the company and NASA scrubbed earlier this week due to a technical issue.

The delay was a rare hiccup in SpaceX’s work handling high-profile human spaceflights for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Elon Musk -led rocket company has now conducted seven of those missions for NASA since 2020, when it blasted off the first astronauts from the U.S. in close to a decade.

The latest mission began just after 12:30 a.m. ET Thursday, when the company’s rocket blasted off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, according to a NASA livestream.

Similar to past missions, the crew for the flight—NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren Hoburg, United Arab Emirates astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev —earlier boarded a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft that the company lofted to orbit on a Falcon 9 rocket

SpaceX and NASA called off a launch attempt Monday, shortly before the flight had been scheduled to begin. On Wednesday, the space agency said that a clogged filter caused the issue that led to the flight’s postponement. 

Preparing for the launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Wednesday.

Photo: John Raoux/Associated Press

The problem filter reduced the flow of an ignition fluid to a tank that holds it before the material flows to engines to ignite them, according to NASA. SpaceX teams replaced the filter and took other steps to reset for the launch, the agency said.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp., the formal name for Hawthorne, Calif.-based SpaceX, didn’t respond to a request for comment. Executives at the company have said that ensuring crews’ safety is SpaceX’s top priority during human missions.  

Following the launch, the Crew Dragon vehicle separated from the rocket and is expected to travel for slightly more than a day before it docks with the space station.

Write to Micah Maidenberg at [email protected]

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