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 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 2:21 a.m. EDT Sunday, Oct. 31, from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NASA, SpaceX Continue Planning for Next Crew Rotation Missions to International Space Station

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket soars upward from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 23, 2021.
With a view of the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building at left, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket soars upward from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 23, 2021, carrying a crew of four on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission. Launch time was at 5:49 a.m. EDT. Photo credit: NASA/Ben Smegelsky

NASA and SpaceX are continuing plans to launch Crew-3 astronauts to the International Space Station as early as Sunday Oct. 31, and targeting the return home of Crew-2 astronauts in the early-to-mid November timeframe.

Crew-3 will be the third crew rotation mission with astronauts on an American rocket and spacecraft from the United States to the space station, and the fourth flight with astronauts, including the Demo-2 test flight in 2020, Crew-1 mission in 2020-21, and the ongoing Crew-2 flight as part of the Expedition 65 crew.

The Crew-3 mission will launch NASA astronauts Raja Chari, mission commander, Tom Marshburn, pilot, and Kayla Barron, mission specialist, and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Matthias Maurer, also a mission specialist, aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The crew is scheduled for a long-duration stay aboard the orbiting laboratory, living and working as part of what is expected to be a seven-member crew.

Crew-3 astronauts plan to arrive at the station to overlap with NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who flew to the station as part of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission in April 2021.

Missions teams also are targeting no earlier than April 15, 2022, for the launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission to the space station for a six-month science mission aboard the microgravity laboratory.

Crew-4 will be commanded by Kjell Lindgren with Bob Hines as pilot, both NASA astronauts. ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti will be a mission specialist and command the ISS Expedition 68 crew, while the remaining crew member has yet to be named. Crew-3 astronauts are set to return to Earth in late April 2022 following a similar handover with Crew-4.

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is working with industry through a public-private partnership to provide safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station, which will allow for additional research time and will increase the opportunity for discovery aboard humanity’s testbed for exploration. The space station remains the springboard to space exploration, including future missions to the Moon and Mars.