For SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – Despite the launch weather outlook being upgraded to 90% GO for the planned Oct. 31 Halloween liftoff of the multinational quartet of NASA ESA SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts from America and Germany from Florida, barely two hour later NASA officials announced a middle of the night postponement Saturday, Oct. 30, because of poor downrange weather invading the northern Atlantic Ocean with a “large storm system elevating winds and waves” along the trajectory where the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule would fly and have to abort in case of a launch emergency problem with the rocket.
Thus the maiden mission of the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance commercial crew capsule and its four astronauts blasting off on NASA’s next crew rotation mission from Florida’s Spaceport to the International Space Station (ISS) will have to wait until the wee hours of Wednesday early morning, Nov. 3 – skipping the hoped for Halloween treat.
NASA and SpaceX now are retargeting liftoff to 1:10 a.m. a.m. EDT (0521 GMT), Wednesday, Nov. 3, for the agency’s Crew-3 launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon astronaut ferry ship to the orbiting research laboratory.
“NASA and SpaceX now are targeting 1:10 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Nov. 3, for the agency’s Crew-3 launch to the International Space Station due to a large storm system meandering across the Ohio Valley and through northeastern United States this weekend, elevating winds and waves in the Atlantic Ocean along the Crew Dragon flight path for the Oct. 31 launch attempt,” NASA officials announced in an Oct. 30 statement.
Rough seas and high waves and winds could hinder the ability of recovery crews to reach and rescue the astronauts in case the capsule aborts post launch in an emergency into the Atlantic Ocean waters.
The three-day delay should result in much improved offshore abort weather conditions.
“Weather conditions along the ascent corridor are expected to improve for a Nov. 3 launch attempt, and the 45th Weather Squadron forecast predicts an 80% chance of favorable weather conditions at the launch site.”
Launch Update ➡️ @NASA's @SpaceX #Crew3 mission is now targeted for Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 1:10am ET due to a large storm system elevating winds and waves in the Atlantic Ocean along the Crew Dragon flight path for the Oct. 31 launch attempt. Learn more: https://t.co/WdCdLAKnd4 pic.twitter.com/Z2u0nFRmC6
— NASA Commercial Crew (@Commercial_Crew) October 30, 2021
The area of greatest concern for offshore weather along the Crew Dragon flight path is off the coast of the Carolinas, Steve Stich, NASA manager, Commercial Crew Program, told me at the media briefing late Friday evening.
Although Space Force forecasters give a 90% chance of favorable launch conditions at KSC for the Halloween morning Oct.31 launch target the risk level was rated high in the ascent recovery trajectory and moderate for booster recovery.
The quartet of NASA and ESA astronauts from America and Germany who will soon launch to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission arrived Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 26, at Florida’s Spaceport from their Texas training base to meet the media and undergo final training and preparations ahead of liftoff now retargeted to Nov. 3 – and the German astronaut on board – Matthias Maurer – will be the 600th person to reach space.
The multinational Crew-3 team comprising NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, along with ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer from Germany, landed at the Launch and Landing Facility (formerly the SLF Shuttle Landing Facility aboard a NASA Gulfstream jet at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 26 after departing from Ellington Field near the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
“In this case are four human beings riding at the top of that rocket,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson at the Friday night media briefing, before the launch delay.
“We’ve done everything possible along with our commercial partners to make sure that this is going to be a success, weather permitting. I look forward to a great mission.”
NASA TV live coverage of the Crew-3 launch begins at 8:45 p.m. ET Tuesday evening Nov. 2 (0045 GMT Nov. 3).
NEW LIFTOFF DATE: NASA's @SpaceX Crew-3 mission is now targeting 1:10am ET (05:10 UTC) on Wed., Nov. 3, for its next launch attempt due to weather along the flight path.
Watch NASA TV coverage starting Nov. 2 at 8:45pm ET (00:45 UTC Nov. 3): https://t.co/KXTmDNSZWm pic.twitter.com/BB3HkTizZo
— NASA (@NASA) October 30, 2021
For NASA TV downlink information, schedules, and links to streaming video, visit:
Enjoy our gallery of the static fire test, rocket at pad 39A and astronaut arrival photos by Ken Kremer for Space UpClose.
If all goes well the Crew-3 astronauts will rendezvous and dock with the station at the forward facing port on the Harmony node 22 hours later the same day, Wednesday, Nov. 3, at about 11 p.m for a short handover with the astronauts that flew to the station as part of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission.
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.
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 – and the 5th human spaceflight overall on a SpaceX Crew Dragon.
The 215-foot (65-meter)) Falcon 9 rocket was rolled out and up the incline to pad 39A Wednesday morning Oct. 27 from the hangar outside the pad perimeter fence and raised erect noontime prior to the Oct. 28 engine test
Meanwhile the crew participated in a countdown dry dress rehearsal at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida which simulated launch day activities with suit up, driving to the pad in Teslas, going up the elevator and boarding the capsule for seating by the closeout crew – minus the propellant loading.
Crew-3 astronauts, SpaceX, and @NASA completed a full rehearsal of launch day activities pic.twitter.com/6SxIhIkT8M
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) October 29, 2021
Chari, Maurer, and Barron will all be flying as rookies on their first spaceflight each and are designated as astronauts 599, 600 and 601.
Matthias Maurer from Germany will enjoy the distinction of being the 600th human to reach space when he launches on Halloween with the Crew-3 quartet.
Chari will be the 599th and Barron will be the 601st person to reach space since 1961 when Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human into space reaching orbit at the dawn of the Space Age.
Maurer’s mission is named Cosmic Kiss. The mission’s name “is a declaration of love for space, for the Space Station as a link between humanity and the cosmos and for what people there do and will do in the future. At the same time, it stands for the value of exploring space in partnership, and for the respectful and sustainable treatment of Earth.”
The 51-year old Maurer, born in the German state of Saarland in Sanky Wendel, will conduct over 100 experiments – including 36 with involvement from German researchers in a range of diverse fields including biology life sciences, materials science, physics, biology, medicine and Earth observation.
Just past midnight Oct. 28, SpaceX engineers completed a brief engine test of the Falcon 9 rocket that will launch the inaugural mission of the company’s Crew Dragon Endurance capsule and the multinational quartet of Crew-3 astronauts from America and Germany on the Crew-3 mission from Florida’s Spaceport to the ISS.
Ken’s photos of the static fire test were featured on WKMG CBS 6 Orlando TV News
Ken is onsite at KSC 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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