SpaceX Crew-3 launch delayed due to astronaut’s ‘minor medical issue’

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From left are NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari and Tom Marshburn, along with European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer in front of a Falcon 9 rocket at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.


SpaceX

The four astronauts of the NASA and SpaceX Crew-3 mission are going to be waiting a little longer until they blast off aboard a Crew Dragon capsule from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The batch of astronauts were set to rocket off planet on Tuesday but a “minor medical issue” has forced a reschedule.

The launch was originally set to happen early in the morning on Halloween but “unfavorable weather conditions forecast along the flight path” initially pushed the flight back to Nov. 2. That has been scrubbed because of the medical issue, involving one of the crew members. In a blog post on Monday, NASA said the issue is “not a medical emergency and not related to COVID-19” and the crew will remain in quarantine until the mission is ready to launch.

NASA says the earliest the launch aluminum sliding window repair will open is 8:36 p.m. PT (11:36 p.m. ET) on Saturday, Nov. 6.

The whole thing will be streamed live via NASA’s feed right here.  

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The NASA astronauts on this Dragon’s passenger list are former US Navy submarine warfare officer Kayla Barron, test pilot Raja Chari and veteran astronaut and emergency physician Tom Marshburn, along with European astronaut Matthias Maurer, a German materials scientist who has been with the European Space Agency for over a decade.

During their six months aboard the ISS, the Crew-3 astronauts are slated to do multiple spacewalks for space station maintenance and also help perform scientific research in orbit involving fiberoptics, growing plants without soil and how astronauts’ eyes change from exposure to space, among other experiments. 

While the Crew Dragon is a reusable spacecraft, this particular vehicle is a brand-new one that’s been dubbed Endurance. The Falcon 9 booster and nosecone have flown before, however. 


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After liftoff in darkness, the Falcon 9 will return to attempt a landing on a droneship in the Atlantic and the Dragon will hit speeds over 17,000 miles per hour (27,360 kilometers per hour) on its way to intercept the ISS about 22 hours later. 

The four astronauts and others already aboard will welcome two private crews to the space station in coming months as the new era of space tourism accelerates. A group of Japanese tourists will ride a Russian Soyuz capsule to orbit in late 2021, and Axiom Space will conduct its first private astronaut flight to the ISS in early 2022, also on a Crew Dragon. 

A Crew Dragon first carried humans in May 2020 when astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken rode it to the ISS, marking the return of human spaceflight to US soil after a nine-year hiatus following the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011. Dragon is one of two vehicles NASA approved for development for its Commercial Crew program. Boeing’s Starliner is still in the uncrewed testing phase after failing to reach orbit in a December 2019 test flight.