NASA sets new SpaceX Crew-3 launch date after second delay

NASA has delayed the launch of SpaceX’s Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) while one of the astronauts deals with a “minor” medical issue.

The launch from the Kennedy Space Center was originally set for early Sunday morning but was delayed until Wednesday due to an approaching storm. On Monday, NASA announced the second delay, and is now targeting 11:36 p.m. ET (8:36 p.m. PT) on Saturday, November 6 for launch.

The Crew-3 mission includes NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, along with Matthias Maurer from the European Space Agency.

A message posted on NASA’s website declined to name the astronaut with the medical issue, though it did say that it’s not a medical emergency and is unrelated to the coronavirus.

“The agency takes every effort to protect the crew prior to its launch through a health stabilization plan,” NASA said, adding that the Crew-3 astronauts will stay in quarantine facilities at the Kennedy Space Center until launch.

It said the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket are “in good shape” and will remain at Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy until launch.

Digital Trends has full details on how to watch a livestream of the Crew-3 launch this weekend.

Crew-3 will be the third crew rotation mission with astronauts on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and the fourth flight overall to carry astronauts, with the Demo-2 test flight in the summer 2020 the first to do so.

The arrival of the four astronauts at the space station this weekend will see the population of the orbiting outpost grow to 11. But in the coming weeks the count will drop to seven as the Crew-2 astronauts head back to Earth on another Crew Dragon spacecraft currently docked at the ISS.

As we wait for launch day, take a moment to enjoy again the Crew Dragon’s very first astronaut mission that took place last year with NASA’s Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. The successful test mission marked the first astronaut launch and landing in U.S. territory since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011 and paved the way for regular crewed missions to and from the ISS using SpaceX’s reusable spaceflight hardware.

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