SpaceX, NASA Delay Crew-3 Astronaut Launch To Space Station Due To Weather Conditions

CAP CANAVERAL, Florida – There won’t be a spooky astronaut launch for SpaceX this Halloween.

EspaceX and NASA have delayed the next launch of four astronauts to the International Space Station due to adverse weather conditions along the flight path.

A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule and a Falcon 9 rocket were scheduled to launch the mission, called Crew-3, early Sunday morning (October 31) from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center here in Florida. But today, NASA announced the delay of 72 hours, citing bad weather along the flight path of the rocket. Instead, SpaceX is now aiming for a launch on Wednesday (November 3). Take-off is set for 1:10 a.m. EDT (5:10 a.m. GMT).

You can watch the launch live here and on the Space.com home page, courtesy of NASA, or directly via the space agency. Coverage begins at 8:45 p.m. EDT Tuesday (0045 GMT Sunday).

Live Updates: SpaceX’s Crew-3 astronaut mission

SpaceX's Crew Dragon Endurance and its Falcon 9 rocket soar atop Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.  The launch has been postponed until November 3, 2021.

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endurance and its Falcon 9 rocket soar atop Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch has been postponed until November 3, 2021. (Image credit: SpaceX)

NASA and SpaceX are now targeting 1:10 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, November 3 for the agency’s Crew-3 launch to the International Space Station due to a large storm system winding through the Ohio Valley and across the northeastern United States this weekend, raising winds and waves in the Atlantic Ocean along Crew Dragon’s flight path for the Oct. 31 launch attempt, ”wrote agency officials in a blog post.

Forecasters said the weather at Cape Canaveral here will probably be right on launch day, with a 90% chance of favorable conditions for takeoff. At the low end, however, the weather doesn’t look so promising. SpaceX needs good weather on its launch site and a site downstream landing in case this would be necessary in case of emergency launch. If the mission cannot take off on Sunday, NASA says the next attempt will take place on Wednesday (November 3).

Crew-3 carries three NASA astronauts and an international astronaut. The mission is commanded by Raja Chari of NASA, with fellow NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn as pilot and Kayla Barron as mission specialist. Astronaut of the European Space Agency Matthias Maurer will also be on board, which will become the 600th person in space. It will also mark the first space flight for Chari, Barron and Maurer.

“You don’t see a lot of newbie commanders,” Holly Ridings, chief flight director for the Directorate of Flight Operations at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, said during a pre-launch press briefing. “It’s really just a testament to what an amazing person he is; he’s incredibly, incredibly capable as they all are.”

“But in particular, he just did an amazing job.”

SpaceX’s Crew-3 mission astronauts smile during a launch rehearsal inside their Crew Dragon Endurance capsule on October 28, 2021 ahead of their launch to the International Space Station on November 3, 2021. (Image credit: SpaceX)

Crew-3 will also mark the 129th launch of a Falcon 9 rocket so far this year, and the 93rd recovery of a first stage booster (if all goes according to plan). The SpaceX drone ship “Just Read the instructions” is positioned in the Atlantic Ocean, pending his recovery attempt planned. About nine minutes after takeoff, the first floor of the two-stage rocket should land on the deck of the huge ship.

The rocket featured in this mission has so far had one flight under its belt, having transported another Dragon spacecraft in June as part of a cargo refueling mission to the ISS. It drove to the pad on Wednesday morning and SpaceX tested its engines later that evening, certifying the rocket was ready to go.

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