Crew Dragon Arrives at Launch Pad Ahead of Crew-3 Launch

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket stands at Launch Complex 39A in Florida ahead of the Crew-3 launch.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, as preparations continue for the Crew-3 mission at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the Crew Dragon spacecraft atop, rolled out to the launch pad last night, Oct. 26, at Kennedy Space Center in Florida in preparation for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 launch. The rocket is now in a vertical position at Kennedy’s Launch Pad 39A, awaiting liftoff on Sunday, Oct. 31.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with Crew Dragon rolls out to Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the Crew-3 launch.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with Crew Dragon rolls out to Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida in the early morning hours of Oct. 27, 2021 for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission. Photo credit: SpaceX

The mission will carry NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, to the International Space Station for a six-month stay. Launch is scheduled for 2:21 a.m. EDT, and the crew is expected to arrive at the orbiting laboratory about 22 hours later, at 12:10 a.m. EDT on Monday, Nov.1.

Upon their arrival, the Crew-3 astronauts will have a short overlap with NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who flew to the station as part of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission in April 2021. Crew-2 astronauts are scheduled to return to Earth in early November.

The mission will fly a new Crew Dragon spacecraft, which crew members have named Endurance, and will be the first to fly a previously used nosecone. 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.

Tomorrow, Oct. 28, the Crew-3 astronauts and launch teams will conduct a full dress rehearsal in preparation for launch. Find out what that entails in the video below.

Public Shares Messages for Crew in Advance of Crew-3 Launch

The astronauts for NASA's SpaceX Crew-3 mission are photographed in front of the Falcon 9 rocket inside the hangar at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A in Florida.
The astronauts for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission are photographed in front of the Falcon 9 rocket during a tour of the hangar at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida on Oct. 26, 2021. From left are NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, and Tom Marshburn, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer. Photo credit: SpaceX

Around the world, more than 10,000 virtual guests are registered to be a part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station. Since this is a crewed flight, we asked our guests to share a message with the crew. Thousands of guests from Germany, Turkey, the United States, Ireland, Croatia, Spain, New Zealand, and more responded with well wishes, hopes, and dreams.

For many, the Crew-3 mission is an inspiration to the younger generation. One guest stated, “My daughter dreams big of being the first person on Mars. Every mission you go on continues to inspire her to push harder to become an astronaut. Thank you!” We agree, these missions inspire us, too!

Another message from a crew member’s former colleague was more personal. The guest said, “My wife and I are extremely excited for you and proud of you all! Raj: From the first meeting in basic training, I knew you were destined for the stars. I just had no idea it was literally going to be the stars! Congrats, my friend, to you and your family, and I am honored to be part of this journey!”

Some of our guests are tuning in with their school. One school from Silicon Valley shared, “Thank you for inspiring the next generation of space explorers, and Godspeed!” More schools from Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina also send their congratulations.

Many people dream of going to space, and one guest’s response summed it up for all of us at the Virtual Guest Program, saying “All the best for a safe launch! We will be standing by and watching the event online. Thanks for your courage and spirit of adventure showing us a bit more of our universe.”

We’d love to have you along on our virtual guest program – you can join our standing list or register for specific upcoming missions by visiting nasa.gov/virtualguest. In addition to sharing thoughts on launch-related questions, virtual guests receive emails with curated launch resources, notifications about NASA activities, and updates on any launch time or date changes.

We’re releasing our second-edition virtual guest passport for the Crew-3 mission. Whether it’s your first stamp or your 14th, NASA hopes you’ll print, fold, and get ready to fill your virtual passport. It will be possible to customize the new edition with your name, nationality, and the date you first use it. Mission stamps will be emailed following the launch to all virtual guest program attendees.

Liftoff of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission on a Falcon 9 rocket is targeted for 1:10 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Nov. 3, from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Crew-3 Astronauts to Hold Virtual Media Event from Crew Quarters

SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Thomas Marshburn, Matthias Maurer, Kayla Barron and Raja Chari are pictured during preflight training at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Thomas Marshburn, Matthias Maurer, Kayla Barron, and Raja Chari are pictured during preflight training at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 26, 2021. Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, will hold a virtual media event today, Oct. 27, at 8 a.m., from inside the Astronaut Crew Quarters at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Watch live on NASA Television or the agency’s website.

Media may call in to ask the crew questions ahead of their upcoming launch to the International Space Station. Contact the Kennedy newsroom for details on how to participate.

Housed inside the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout (O&C) Building, the crew quarters are where the astronauts remain while awaiting launch once they arrive at the Florida spaceport. The facility dates back to the Apollo Program and was also used for missions under the Space Shuttle Program. Inside the crew quarters are 23 bedrooms – each with its own bathroom – and the iconic suit room, where astronauts are helped into their spacesuits before exiting the O&C and making the short journey to the launch pad.

Crew-3 astronauts Chari, Marshburn, Barron, and Maurer are scheduled to lift off aboard a Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A on Sunday, Oct. 31. Launch is targeted for 2:21 a.m. EDT, and approximately 22 hours later, they will arrive at the orbiting laboratory for a short overlap with the astronauts who flew to the station as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission in April.

Return of Crew-2 astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Akihiko Hoshide, and Thomas Pesquet is planned for early November, with a splashdown of Crew Dragon Endeavor at one of seven landing zones off the coast of Florida. Crew-3 astronauts will remain on board for a six-month science mission, living and working as part of what is expected to be a seven-member crew.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 Astronauts Arrive at Florida Spaceport

The astronauts for NASA's SpaceX Crew-3 mission arrive at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Oct. 26, 2021.
The astronauts who will fly on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission participate in a media event following their arrival at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Oct. 26, 2021. Speaking at the microphone is NASA astronaut and Spacecraft Commander Raja Chari. Behind him from left is ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut and Mission Specialist Matthias Maurer, and NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn, pilot, and Kayla Barron, mission specialist. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

The astronauts who will soon launch to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission arrived today, Oct. 26, at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to undergo final preparations before launch.

NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, along with ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, landed at the Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy after departing earlier today from Ellington Field near the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The crew was greeted by leaders from NASA and ESA, and a media event began shortly after their arrival. Participants included:

  • Janet Petro, director, Kennedy Space Center
  • Bob Cabana, NASA associate administrator
  • Frank de Winne, manager, International Space Station Program, ESA
  • NASA astronaut Raja Chari, commander
  • NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn, pilot
  • NASA astronaut Kayla Barron, mission specialist
  • ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, mission specialist

Crew-3 astronauts are scheduled to lift off at 2:21 a.m. EDT on Sunday, Oct. 31, aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A. They are slated to arrive at the space station the following day, Nov. 1, where they will remain for a six-month science mission. Docking is targeted for 12:10 a.m. EDT.

This is the third crew rotation flight for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, and the first flight of a new Crew Dragon spacecraft. More details about the 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.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 Astronauts En Route to Kennedy Space Center

Crew-3 astronauts prepare to board the Gulfstream jet that will bring them to Kennedy Space Center.
From left, SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, all of NASA, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer prepare to depart Ellington Field in Houston, Texas, for the short flight to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Oct. 26, 2021. Photo credit: Robert Markowitz

The astronauts who will fly on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station are now on their way to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where they will begin final preparations for launch.

NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, along with ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, boarded a Gulfstream jet aircraft and departed from Ellington Field near the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston for the short flight to Florida. The crew is expected to arrive at the Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy later this afternoon.

Crew-3 astronauts will be greeted upon their arrival by Kennedy Center Director Janet Petro along with NASA Associate Administrator Bob Cabana and ESA International Space Station Program Manager Frank de Winne. Coverage will begin at approximately 2:30 p.m. EDT, and will include welcome remarks, crew comments, and a brief question and answer session with attending news media. The event will be broadcast live on NASA TV and the agency’s website, weather permitting.

Crew Dragon Arrives at Launch Complex for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 Mission

SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft arrives at the hangar at Launch Complex 39A on Oct. 24, 2021.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule for the agency’s Crew-3 mission arrives at the hangar at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida on Oct. 24, 2021. Photo credit: SpaceX
SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule arrives at the hangar at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A in Florida on Oct. 24, 2021.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule for the agency’s Crew-3 mission arrives at the hangar at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida on Oct. 24, 2021. Photo credit: SpaceX

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft that will carry NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer to the International Space Station is now at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida. The capsule, named Endurance by the crew, arrived at the launch complex on Oct. 24 after making the short journey from its nearby processing facility at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Liftoff of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled for 2:21 a.m. EDT on Oct. 31 from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A. Chari, Marshburn, Barron, and Maurer will arrive at the space station the following day, Nov.1, for a six-month science mission. The Crew-3 astronauts will have a short overlap with the astronauts who flew to the station as part of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission. Return of NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, is planned for early November. A splashdown at one of seven landing zones off the coast of Florida will mark the completion of the Crew-2 mission.

Crew-3 is the third crew rotation flight for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, and the first flight of a new Crew Dragon spacecraft. More details about the 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.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 Flight Readiness Review Begins

NASA and SpaceX managers participate in a Flight Readiness Review for the agency's SpaceX Crew-3 mission at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Oct. 25, 2021.
NASA and SpaceX managers participate in a Flight Readiness Review for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Oct. 25, 2021. Crew-3 is scheduled to launch from Kennedy’s historic Launch Complex 39A on Sunday, Oct. 31. Liftoff of the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft is targeted for 2:21 a.m. EDT. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

NASA and SpaceX managers are gathered at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where they have started the Crew-3 mission’s Flight Readiness Review (FRR). The review primarily focuses on the preparedness of SpaceX’s crew transportation system, the International Space Station, and its international partners to support the flight and certification of flight readiness.

NASA will hold a media teleconference later today, about one hour after the FRR concludes, to discuss the outcome. While the teleconference will not be televised, media may call in to ask questions via phone. Contact the Kennedy newsroom no later than 4 p.m. for connection details.

Participants in the teleconference will include:

  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, Kennedy
  • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
  • Holly Ridings, chief flight director, Flight Operations Directorate, Johnson
  • William Gerstenmaier, vice president, Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX
  • Junichi Sakai, manager, International Space Station, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
  • Frank de Winne, manager, International Space Station, European Space Agency (ESA)

NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, as well as ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, will launch on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft for the Crew-3 mission as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The crew of four will arrive at the International Space Station approximately 22 hours after launch for a six-month science mission. Liftoff is scheduled for 2:21 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31, from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A.

NASA, SpaceX Adjust Next Crew Launch Date to Space Station

SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts (from left) Matthias Maurer, Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari and Kayla Barron pose for a portrait during preflight training.
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

NASA and SpaceX now are targeting 2:21 a.m. EDT Sunday, Oct. 31, for the agency’s Crew-3 launch to the International Space Station to allow additional time for spacecraft processing. The backup launch time and date is 1:10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3.

 

The official insignia for NASA's SpaceX Crew-3 launch.NASA astronauts Raja Chari, mission commander, Tom Marshburn, pilot, and Kayla Barron, mission specialist as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, also a mission specialist, will launch on the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft and its Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The international crew entered their official quarantine Oct. 16, and will travel to Kennedy in the coming days for final training and preparations prior to launch.

 

Crew-3 astronauts are scheduled for a long-duration science mission aboard the orbiting laboratory, living and working as part of what is expected to be a seven-member crew. Launch on Oct. 31 would have Crew-3 arriving at the space station early on the morning of Monday, Nov. 1, for a short handover with the astronauts who flew to the station in April as part of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission.

 

With the Crew-3 launch date adjustment, return of Crew-2 with NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, currently is planned for early November with splashdown of Crew Dragon Endeavour at one of seven landing zones off the coast of Florida.

SpaceX Crew-3 Astronauts Enter Quarantine for Mission to Space Station

Crew-3 astronauts Matthias Maurer, Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron pose for a photo in their SpaceX spacesuits.
The astronauts of Crew-3 pose for a portrait in their space suits during a training session. From left are ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer and NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron. Chari is commander, Marshburn is the pilot, and Barron and Maurer are both mission specialists. Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, entered their official quarantine period beginning Saturday, Oct. 16, in preparation for their flight to the International Space Station on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission. They will lift off at 2:43 a.m. EDT Saturday, Oct. 30, aboard the SpaceX Dragon Endurance, atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

For crews preparing to launch, “flight crew health stabilization” is a routine part of the final preparations for all missions to the space station. Spending the final two weeks before liftoff in quarantine will help ensure the Crew-3 crew is healthy, protecting themselves and the astronauts already on the space station.

If they are able to maintain quarantine conditions at home, crew members can choose to quarantine from there until they travel to Kennedy. If they are unable to maintain quarantine conditions at home — for example, if a household member can’t maintain quarantine because of job or school requirements — they have the option of living in the Astronaut Quarantine Facility at Johnson Space Center until they leave for Kennedy.

Some additional safeguards have been added because of the coronavirus. Anyone who will come on-site or interact with the crew during the quarantine period, as well as any VIPs, will be screened for temperature and symptoms. Chari, Marshburn, Barron, and Maurer, as well as those in direct, close contact with the crew, will be tested twice for the virus as a precaution.

Crew-3 astronauts will become the third crew to fly a full-duration mission to the space station on Dragon for a six-month stay on the orbiting laboratory. They are scheduled to arrive at the space station 22 hours later at 12:30 a.m. EDT Sunday, Oct. 31, for a short overlap with NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who flew to the station as part of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission in April 2021. Also on board are Mark Vande Hei, NASA astronaut and Pytor Dubrov, cosmonaut of the Russian space agency Roscosmos who flew to the station on a Soyuz spacecraft for Expedition 65 in April 9, 2021, and Anton Shkaplerov, cosmonaut of the Russian space agency who flew to the station on a Soyuz spacecraft Oct. 5, 2021.

More details about the mission and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program can be found in the press kit online and by following the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.