SpaceX’s next astronaut launch for NASA delayed again by bad weather (and a possible Dragon landing)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX’s next astronaut launch for NASA has been delayed again. 

The U.S. space agency and SpaceX have pushed the launch of the Crew-3 mission, which is able to ship 4 astronauts to the International Space Station, from Saturday (Nov. 6) to Monday (Nov. 8) on the earliest, due to anticipated bad weather over the approaching days. 

NASA and SpaceX are additionally now contemplating whether or not to carry the 4 astronauts of the earlier mission, Crew-2, again right down to Earth earlier than sending Crew-3 skyward. 

Live updates: SpaceX’s Crew-3 astronaut mission

A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket have been initially scheduled to launch Crew-3 early Sunday morning (Oct. 31) from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center right here in Florida. But earlier than the crew might climb aboard, NASA introduced a 72-hour delay, citing poor weather circumstances alongside the rocket’s flight path. 

Then, a minor medical issue cropped up with one of many astronauts, forcing the agency to push the launch out to no sooner than 11:36 p.m. EDT on Saturday (Nov. 6; 0336 GMT on Nov. 7). However, Mother Nature has now nixed that plan, because the weather circumstances all weekend look fairly poor, in accordance with forecasters on the forty fifth Space Delta right here at Cape Canaveral.

So NASA and SpaceX are rethinking their plans for each launch and splashdown. 

“Mission teams are now considering whether to return the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission from the space station ahead of launching the next crew rotation due to the associated weather conditions for both launch and recovery operations,” agency representatives wrote in a blog post on Thursday (Nov. 4).

The Crew-2 astronauts at present on station — NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, together with European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency spaceflyer Akihiko Hoshide — have been initially slated to come back residence on Thursday, assuming the Crew-3 quartet of NASA’s Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron and ESA’s Matthias Maurer launched on Oct. 31.

The authentic Crew-3 delay to Wednesday (Nov. 3) put Crew-2’s earliest departure on Nov. 7. However, the weather is an important consider figuring out when every mission both will get off the bottom or splashes down. 

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Crew-2, which launched in April, is in a little bit of a time crunch, since its Dragon spacecraft is rated to remain in space for roughly 210 days, or 7 months. With that deadline quick approaching, and the weather trying bleak, NASA could resolve to carry that mission residence first. 

“These are dynamic and complex decisions that change day by day,” Steve Stich, NASA’s Commercial Crew program supervisor stated within the weblog submit. “The weather in November can be especially challenging, so our goal is to move forward on the plan with the highest probability of mission assurance and safety.”

The earliest Crew-2 might come house is now Sunday (Nov. 7), whereas the earliest that Crew-3 might launch is Monday evening (Nov. 8). NASA says it would proceed to observe weather circumstances each on the Cape and downrange to find out the perfect plan of action within the next few days.

The Crew-3 astronaut’s medical challenge is anticipated to clear up by launch day, NASA officers stated.

Follow Amy Thompson on Twitter @astrogingersnap. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook

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