SpaceX Crew-3: NASA discusses mission ahead of October launch

NASA and SpaceX are preparing for its Crew-3 mission later this month.

On Wednesday, NASA held a briefing to discuss the mission. Astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron from the American space agency will embark into space with ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer. They are targeting 2:43 a.m. EDT Saturday, October 30th, for liftoff.

In case of a scrub, NASA said that the backup launch opportunity is Sunday, October 31st, at the same time. When liftoff does happen, the rocket will take off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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"Here we are, 16 months after Bob and Doug have flown, and here we are getting ready for another set of missions," said Kathy Lueders, NASA’s associate administrator of space operations.

The astronauts who will be on the mission reportedly serve the following roles:

  • Raja Chari: Mission Commander
  • Tom Marshburn: Pilot
  • Kayla Barron: Mission Specialist
  • Matthias Maurer: Mission Specialist

They will ride a SpaceX Dragon capsule to the International Space Station (ISS), where they will spend about six months completing a science mission. They will join Crew-2 astronauts Shane Kimbrough,  Megan McArthur, Aki Hoshide, and Thomas Pesquet at the space station as they are not scheduled to return home until early to mid-November.

"They will be a true collection of international astronauts and it will be really fun to see that during the handover," Lueders said.

SpaceX Crew-3 (Photo from NASA)

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Right now, the crew is getting ready to head down to Florida this week.

"This weekend the team will be in Florida. There will be a test drive where they will climb into the vehicle and put on the space suits. Suit leak checks, and get the crew oriented before their flight," said Sarah Walker, the Dragon Mission Manager at SpaceX.

Following Crew-3, the next crew rotation mission is said to be targeted for no earlier than mid-April 2022 with the partner spacecraft and launch vehicle to be determined at a later date.

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