Astronaut “Medical Issue” Delays NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 Mission – Not Related to COVID-19

A close-up view of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket vertical with the Crew Dragon atop for the Crew-3 mission at Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida during sunrise on October 28, 2021. Also in view is the crew access arm. A four-person crew will launch aboard the Crew Dragon atop the Falcon 9 to the International Space Station. Crew 3 is the third crew rotation flight to the space station for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, and the first flight of a new Crew Dragon spacecraft. Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA is delaying the upcoming launch of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission due to a minor medical issue involving one of its crew members. The issue is not a medical emergency and not related to COVID-19. The launch to the International Space Station was planned for Wednesday, November 3.

The agency takes every effort to protect the crew prior to its launch through a health stabilization plan. Crew-3 astronauts will remain in quarantine at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida while preparing for their launch.

Teams will continue to monitor crew health as they evaluate potential launch opportunities at the end of the week. The earliest possible opportunity for launch is 11:36 p.m. EDT Saturday, November 6.

SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Matthias Maurer, Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari and Kayla Barron pose for a portrait during preflight training at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. Credit: SpaceX

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket are in good shape and will remain at Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy.

The Crew-3 flight will carry NASA astronauts Raja Chari, mission commander; Tom Marshburn, pilot; and Kayla Barron, mission specialist; as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, who will serve as a mission specialist, to the space station for a six-month science mission, staying aboard until late April 2022.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Crew-3 mission, Sunday, October 31, 2021, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

This is the third crew rotation mission with astronauts on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and the fourth flight with astronauts, including the Demo-2 test flight, as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

NASA also will continue to evaluate dates for a return to Earth for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission with NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet.

Mission teams are reviewing options including both direct and indirect handovers for the upcoming crew rotation at the microgravity laboratory. Teams will review all options for safely launching and returning crew members and continue the agency’s important work on the International Space Station.

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