Falcon 9 Fueling Underway

The launch abort system for the Crew Dragon spacecraft has been armed, and fueling of the Falcon 9 rocket is underway. We’re now T-35 minutes from launch, and the rocket is being loaded with RP-1 (rocket grade kerosene). The rocket’s first stage also is being fueled with liquid oxygen, and a few minutes from now, fueling will begin for the second stage.

Weather officials with the U.S. Space Force 45th Weather Squadron now predict a 90% chance of favorable weather conditions for tonight’s launch. Liftoff is targeted for 9:03 p.m. EST.

Crew Access Arm Retracts

The crew access arm swings away from SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft on Nov. 10, 2021, ahead of the agency's SpaceX Crew-3 launch.
The crew access arm swings away from SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft on Nov. 10, 2021, ahead of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-3 launch. Photo credit: NASA

The crew access arm has retracted, and in just a few minutes, Crew Dragon Endurance’s launch escape system will be armed. This will allow the Crew-3 astronauts to escape safely in the unlikely event of an anomaly from the moment the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off until the time they reach orbit – a timespan of roughly 12 minutes.

Liftoff of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 Mission About an Hour Away

Liftoff of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft, carrying Crew-3 astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and Matthias Maurer, is now just a little under an hour away. The mission director has given the “go” for propellant loading, and about 10 minutes from now, the crew access arm will swing away from the spacecraft as launch preparations continue.

Stay with us here on the blog as countdown coverage continues, or watch live on NASA Television and the agency’s website. More details about this mission and the Commercial Crew Program can be found in the online press kit, or by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew, and commercial crew on Facebook.

Hatch Closed on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endurance

NASA's SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts are seen inside the Crew Dragon spacecraft just before their seats were rotated into a launch position on Nov. 10, 2021.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts are seen inside the Crew Dragon spacecraft just before their seats were rotated into a launch position on Nov. 10, 2021. Photo credit: NASA

The hatch is now closed on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Endurance by the crew. Liftoff of NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer is just a little under two hours away (9:03 p.m. EST) for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission.

Crew-3 Astronauts Secured Inside Crew Dragon Endurance, Ready for Hatch Closure

The crew has finished executing communication checks with the launch team, and their seats have been rotated into position for launch.

All Aboard! Astronauts Climb into Crew Dragon Endurance

Technicians help secure NASA's SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts in their seats just after entering the Crew Dragon spacecraft.
Technicians help secure NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts in their seats just after entering the Crew Dragon spacecraft on Nov. 10, 2021. Photo credit: NASA

The Crew-3 astronauts are now boarding SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, which they have named Endurance, for this mission. Before entering Endurance, each of the crew members signed their name on one of the walls inside the White Room – the connecting area between the crew access arm and the spacecraft.

As the astronauts enter the spacecraft, their seats are configured in an upright position. Once the crew is securely inside, the seats will be rotated into a reclined position for launch, just before teams close Endurance’s side hatch – this coming up in a little more than 30 minutes.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 Astronauts Arrive at Launch Site

NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer have arrived at Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A, where a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft await liftoff.

In the next few minutes, the crew will take the elevator up the pad’s launch tower and walk down the crew access arm into the White Room – the final Earth-bound stop for the crew before entering the spacecraft.

Crew-3 Astronauts Rock Out During Their Ride to the Pad

Have you ever wondered what astronauts listen to on their way to the launch pad as they prepare to launch on the ride of a lifetime? Riding in one car together are Commander Raja Chari and Pilot Tom Marshburn. Here’s a look at a few songs on their playlist:

  • “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses
  • “Kickstart My Heart” by Motley Crue
  • “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen

The Tesla Model X vehicles carrying Chari, Marshburn, NASA astronaut Kayla Barron, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer are traveling to the pad in the middle of a convoy that includes support team members and security personnel. Waiting for the crew’s arrival at the launch pad is the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft that will send the four-member crew to the International Space Station.

Next Stop: Historic Launch Complex 39A

NASA's SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts walk outside the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building to head out to the launch pad for the Crew-3 launch on Nov. 10, 2021.
The SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts walk out through the double doors below the Neil A. Armstrong Building’s Astronaut Crew Quarters at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Nov. 10, 2021. Photo credit: NASA

The astronauts who will soon fly to the International Space Station on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission just walked out of the double doors below the Neil A. Armstrong Building’s Astronaut Crew Quarters and made their way to the Tesla Model X cars that will take them to Launch Complex 39A.

Since the late 1960s, Pads A and B at Launch Complex 39 have supported America’s major space programs, with Pad A used most frequently for launches under the Space Shuttle Program. After the retirement of the shuttle program in 2011, Pad A helped usher in a new era of spaceflight with the historic Demo-1 launch for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, which returned human spaceflight capability to the U.S.

Astronauts Suited, Prepare for Journey to Launch Pad

Crew-3 astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and Matthias Maurer have finished putting on their SpaceX spacesuits and will soon depart the Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building for the short journey to Launch Complex 39A. At the pad, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Endurance by the crew, stand ready for liftoff.