Featured Image Source: SpaceX
SpaceX is ready to launch the next crewed mission to the International Space Station (ISS) this week, just days after completing the Crew-2 mission for NASA's Commercial Crew Program on Monday night. SpaceX targets to launch the third operational mission to ISS as soon as Wednesday, November 10, after multiple delays. The mission was initially planned for Halloween day then it was delayed to November 3rd due to a large storm system along Florida’s Coast. Then the Crew-3 mission got delayed again due to an undisclosed 'minor medical issue' an astronaut experienced. “The issue is not a medical emergency and not related to COVID-19,” the agency said last week. NASA did not provide any details on who was the crewmember undergoing a health evaluation they only assured the public that the astronaut would be well before liftoff.
Crew-3 NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Matthias Maurer, will liftoff atop a previously-flown Falcon 9 rocket. It will be the first spaceflight for Chari, Maurer, and Barron, they are excited to embark on a journey to the orbiting laboratory where they will work in microgravity for 6-months. The first-stage booster that will lift them to outer space is identified as B1067-2; It previously supported SpaceX’s 22nd Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-22) mission in June 2021. Now, B1067-2 will lift off a second time from the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex-39A at 9:03 p.m. EST. Soon after deploying the astronauts to orbit aboard a brand new Crew Dragon spacecraft, called Endurance, Falcon 9’s first-stage will land on the “Just Read the Instructions” autonomous droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida approximately 535 kilometers (km) downrange.
Crew Dragon Endurance is scheduled to dock to the Space Station's Harmony module docking port at 7:10 p.m. EST on Thursday, November 11. NASA representatives shared that the new capsule features multiple upgrades. “In support of Crew-3, SpaceX implemented several improvements to the Crew Dragon system based on knowledge gained from previous flights, including making a software change to build in more communications robustness against radiation effects while docked, adding more cleaning techniques to cut down on foreign object debris, improving computer performance during re-entry, and enhancing the spacecraft’s docking procedures and mechanisms to mitigate hardware interference on the space station side of the interface,” the agency shared in a press release. SpaceX engineers also upgraded Crew Dragon’s toilet system, which had some issues on previous spaceflights.
NASA will host a pre-launch news teleconference tonight (November 9) at 10:30 p.m. EST. You can watch a Live broadcast of the conference and SpaceX Crew-3 mission Live in the video linked below, schedule is in Eastern Time.
Jupiter, Saturn, the Moon, and Venus above Falcon and Dragon tonight pic.twitter.com/S76YV1XTV2— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 10, 2021
WATCH IT LIVE!
NASA TV SCHEDULE:
Tuesday, Nov. 9
10:30 p.m. Pre-Launch News Teleconference
Wednesday, Nov. 10
NASA TV coverage continues through docking, arrival, and the welcome ceremony.
Thursday, Nov. 11
Image Source: NASA/Joel Kowsky