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Fri, Oct 22, 2021

Trick Or Treat... NASA Adjusts Crew-3 Launch Schedule

Joint SpaceX Effort Set for Oct. 31

The upcoming joint launch of Crew-3 by NASA and SpaceX has been moved to Sunday, October 31, at 02:21 EDT.

NASA says that they require more time for spacecraft processing and preparation. Set to use the combination of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft, this launch will be the third operational NASA astronaut delivery in the last year.

Carrying astronauts Raja Chari, mission commander, Tom Marshburn, pilot, and Kayla Barron, mission specialist, with ESA’s Matthias Maurer, the Crew Dragon Endurance will launch from Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The crew entered their official pre-mission quarantine last week, and will begin final training and preparations prior to launch. 

The astronauts are set for a long science mission aboard the space station, embedded within a seven-member crew. If the primary launch date is successful, members should arrive at the ISS early on November 1st for a short handover with the crew who arrived there in April with the SpaceX Crew-2 mission. 

The crew returning to earth include NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, along with ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet after their successful research mission. They are expected to return on the Endeavour at one of the seven landing zones off the coast of Florida. 

The upcoming launch is another feather in the cap for SpaceX, as they continue to outpace their competing program from Boeing, the Starliner. Earlier this month, NASA announced a change in upcoming crewed missions due to delays in that program, shuffling personnel to accommodate unforeseen delays in the Starliner’s valve systems.

In case of delays or external conditions, the backup launch time is November 3, 01:10 EDT.

FMI: www.nasa.gov

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