Why SpaceX's Crew-3 launch was delayed until Wednesday

November 1, 2021: NASA has delayed again the launch of Crew-3 on Saturday, November 6, due to what he described as a “minor medical ...


November 1, 2021: NASA has delayed again the launch of Crew-3 on Saturday, November 6, due to what he described as a “minor medical problem” for one of the astronauts.

It has been a busy year for manned spaceflight, with three short sightseeing flights to the edge of space, an orbital journey by a team of amateur astronauts, a Russian film crew shooting movie scenes in orbit, and two Chinese teams visiting the country’s new space station.

Amid all this activity, American and Russian spacecraft traveled to and from the International Space Station. A flight was scheduled for Sunday morning, but it will now be postponed to the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The weather around NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, from which Falcon 9 will be launched, should be favorable for an on-time takeoff.

But “it’s not just what happens on the launch pad,” said Will Ulrich, launch weather officer with the 45th Space Wing in the Space Force in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Authorities are also monitoring weather conditions along the path Falcon 9 takes into space, a path known as the Ascension Corridor that stretches north along the east coast. If Crew Dragon is to trigger their emergency stop system to save astronauts from a problem with the rocket once it is launched, the capsule should land in good weather conditions anywhere along this corridor. .

Because a large storm system is crossing the northeast this weekend, NASA said in a blog post that the wind and waves in this corridor were not safe enough for the trip to take place on time.

The launch is therefore postponed to Wednesday, with a new take-off time even earlier, at 1:10 a.m., when weather conditions should be favorable both at the launch site and along the corridor.

Three of Crew-3’s four astronauts are flying into space for the first time.

  • Raja Chari, the mission commander, is 44 years old and will be the fifth astronaut of Indian origin to go into space. He was an Air Force test pilot and colonel who flew combat missions in Iraq before joining the NASA Astronaut Corps in 2017.

  • Matthias Maurer, Crew-3 mission specialist, is a German astronaut representing the European Space Agency. Mr Maurer, 51, joined the European Astronaut Corps in 2015.

  • Kayla Barron, 34, also joined NASA’s Astronaut Corps in 2017. She was part of the first group of women to serve in a Navy submarine. She and Mr. Chari are both members of NASA’s Artemis Astronaut Corps, a group of 18 astronauts eligible to travel to or around the moon in the future.

  • Tom Marshburn, 61, who will be making his third orbit trip since joining the NASA Astronaut Corps in 2004. Mr. Marshburn has previously flown on two space vehicles, as a crew member aboard NASA’s Space Shuttle Endeavor in 2009 and on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft in 2013.

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon is a gumball-shaped astronaut capsule that can accommodate up to seven people, but so far it has only flown crews of four. The capsule is launched into space atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, detaches from the thruster once in orbit, and uses a set of tiny on-board thrusters to gradually move towards an encounter with the International Space Station.

Flights usually last around 24 hours. Shortly after reaching space, Crew Dragon lifts a top cover, resembling the tip of an eggshell, to expose its docking adapter. The spacecraft approaches the space station head first and docks autonomously at one of the station’s entry ports.

Crew-3 astronauts are scheduled to meet with the space station later Wednesday – at 11 p.m. EST.

Travel to the International Space Station requires precision – astronauts must launch at a precise moment in order to take an orbital path that helps them catch up with the outpost in space. If weather, technical issues, or anything else cause the launch to be postponed at the last minute, the astronauts must try again on another day.

Once the spacecraft reaches a safe orbit, the astronauts will take off their flight suits, eat packaged space snacks, and check in with mission control to say things are going as planned. During their journey, they will go to sleep for about eight hours. Upon awakening, the spacecraft will autonomously perform more thruster shots to position itself in the same orbital field as the space station and begin a meticulous – but fully autonomous – process to dock on Wednesday.

Not all spacecraft bound for the space station require a full day of travel. The Russian Soyuz spacecraft recently made three-hour trips to the space station as part of a “two-orbital plan” made possible by a stronger push into space by its Soyuz-2.1a rocket. The last three-hour trip to Soyuz was on October 5 when Russia sent a film crew and another astronaut at the space station.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Why SpaceX's Crew-3 launch was delayed until Wednesday
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