KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – NASA and SpaceX have set a launch date for the next Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station.
The launch is set for Saturday, Oct. 30 at 2:43 a.m. with a backup launch time of 2:21 a.m. on Halloween.
“NASA astronauts Raja Chari, mission commander, Tom Marshburn, pilot, and Kayla Barron, mission specialist and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, also a mission specialist, will launch on the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida,” according to NASA’s website.
If the launch stays on schedule for Oct. 30, the Crew-3 team would arrive at the ISS early the next day. The astronauts would have some overlap with the Crew-2 mission, according to NASA.
🚨@NASA and @SpaceX are now targeting Saturday, October 30th @ 2:43 a.m. EDT for the launch of the Crew-3 mission! These four astronauts will liftoff from @NASAKennedy to the @Space_Station— NASA Commercial Crew (@Commercial_Crew) September 30, 2021
The Crew-2 team — NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet — are expected to return to Earth in early-to-mid November, the space agency said.
This will be the fifth crewed launch for the Crew Dragon capsule, but only the fourth for NASA.
On Sept. 15, the Inspiration4 mission became the first all-civilian launch for SpaceX. Billionaire businessman Jared Isaacman purchased a ride from SpaceX and through a fundraising campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and a national competition filled the other three seats on the Dragon spacecraft. The rest of the crew include St. Jude physicians assistant Hayley Arceneaux, geoscience professor Dr. Sian Proctor and aerospace engineer Chris Sembroski.
Inspiration4 did not dock with the ISS. Instead, the Dragon capsule orbited the Earth for three days before splashing down off Florida’s coast on Sept. 18.
In 2020, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley became the first to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 in the capsule to the ISS on a test flight. This launch ended a nine-year drought of crewed launches from U.S. soil following the end of the shuttle program in 2011.
The Crew-1 mission launched in November 2020, carrying NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi to the ISS. The Crew-1 astronauts spent six months in space. They were relieved by the Crew-2 mission in April.