NASA SpaceX Crew-3 Astronaut Liftoff to ISS Retargeted to Halloween Oct. 31

NASA SpaceX Crew-3 Astronaut Liftoff to ISS Retargeted to Halloween Oct. 31
NASA SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Matthias Maurer, Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron pose for a portrait during preflight training at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. Liftoff on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is targeted for Oct. 31, 2021 from the Kennedy Space Center. Credit: SpaceX

For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL –  NASA has retargeted liftoff of the SpaceX Crew-3 commercial crew mission to the International Space Station (ISS) carrying a multinational crew of astronauts from Germany and the US in  the wee hours of Halloween, Sunday, Oct. 31, from Florida’s Spaceport on a Falcon 9 rocket.

NASA delayed the launch by 24 hours from Saturday, Oct. 30 to give the teams more time for “spacecraft processing.”

“NASA and SpaceX now are targeting 2:21 a.m. EDT (0721 GMT), Sunday, Oct. 31, for the agency’s Crew-3 launch to the International Space Station to allow additional time for spacecraft processing,” NASA announced.

The Crew-3 quartet is comprised of three NASA astronauts and one ESA astronaut – namely NASA astronauts Raja Chari, mission commander, Tom Marshburn, pilot, and Kayla Barron, mission specialist as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, also a mission specialist from Germany.

The astronauts of Crew-3 pose for a portrait in their space suits during a training session. From left are ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer and NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron. Chari is commander, Marshburn is the pilot, and Barron and Maurer are both mission specialists. Photo credit: SpaceX

They will launch on the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft and its Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida.

This marks the first launch of the new SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance astronaut ferry ship.

The Crew-3 astronauts will become the third crew to fly a full-duration six-month long science mission to the orbiting laboratory on a SpaceX Crew Dragon.

The international crew have already entered their official quarantine Oct. 16, and will travel to Kennedy next week “for final training and preparations prior to launch,” says NASA

“For crews preparing to launch, “flight crew health stabilization” is a routine part of the final preparations for all missions to the space station. Spending the final two weeks before liftoff in quarantine will help ensure the Crew-3 crew is healthy, protecting themselves and the astronauts already on the space station.”

In case of any delays for weather or technical reasons the backup launch time and date is a few days later at 1:10 a.m. (0610 GMT) Wednesday, Nov. 3.

Chari, Barron and Mauer will all be flying as rookies on their first spaceflight each.

 

For Marshburn, the lone veteran spaceflyer on the team, Crew-3 marks his third spaceflight. He previously served as a crew member of the space shuttle STS-127 mission in 2009 and Expedition 34/35 aboard the space station, which concluded in 2013.

SpaceX Crew-3 patch

Crew-3 will live and work aboard the orbiting laboratory as part of what is expected to be a seven-member crew of Expedition 66 along with a trio launched on Russian Soyuz capsules.

If all goes per plan with launch on Oct. 31, Crew-3 will arrive at the space station a day later early on the morning of Monday, Nov. 1 for a brief handover with the astronauts who flew to the station in April as part of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission.

With the Crew-3 launch date adjustment, return of Crew-2 with NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, currently is planned for early November with splashdown of Crew Dragon Endeavour at one of seven landing zones off the coast of Florida.

Also on board station are Mark Vande Hei, NASA astronaut and Pytor Dubrov, cosmonaut of the Russian space agency Roscosmos who flew to the station on a Soyuz spacecraft for Expedition 65 in April 9, 2021, and Anton Shkaplerov, cosmonaut of the Russian space agency who flew to the station on a Soyuz spacecraft Oct. 5, 2021 – the trio remains on board following the safe return of the Russian actress and film director last week on another Soyuz capsule.

ISS Expedition 66

Crew-3 will remain on board station through April 2022 for an overlap with the Crew 4 astronauts

NASA is targeting April 15, 2022, for the launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission to the ISS.

Ken will be onsite at KSC CCSFS for the Crew-3 mission launch campaign

Watch Ken’s continuing reports about SpaceX Crew and Cargo Dragons, Artemis, SLS, Orion and NASA missions, Lucy Asteroid mission, Blue Origin and Space Tourism, SpaceX  Starlink, Commercial Crew and Starliner and Crew Dragon and onsite for live reporting of upcoming and recent SpaceX and ULA launches including Crew 1 & 2 & 3, ISS, Solar Orbiter, Mars 2020 Perseverance and Curiosity rovers, NRO spysats and national security missions and more at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer – email: ken at kenkremer.com

Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics.
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Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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