Exit the Crew Dragon. Enter one other Crew Dragon.

On Wednesday evening, SpaceX will carry one other crew of astronauts to the International Space Station for a keep of about six months. Crew-3 is the identify of the mission, and its astronauts will exchange Crew-2, the quartet of NASA, European and Japanese astronauts who accomplished a water touchdown within the Gulf of Mexico on Monday evening.

Liftoff of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, with the astronauts within the Crew Dragon sitting on high, is scheduled for 9:03 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday. NASA will host a livestream of the launch on NASA TV and its YouTube channel starting at 4:45 p.m.

Weather round NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the place Falcon 9 will launch, is 80 % favorable, in line with the U.S. Space Force’s forty fifth Weather Squadron.

Crew-3 was initially scheduled to launch on Halloween, nevertheless it was haunted by a number of delays.

The first delay on Oct. 31 was prompted by unhealthy climate, and the following was over a “minor medical issue” regarding one of many astronauts. NASA declined to specify the character of the problem — apart from noting it was unrelated to Covid-19 — or point out which astronaut it affected.

Faced with compounding delays, NASA opted to concentrate on returning the astronauts of Crew-2 to Earth from the area station earlier than launching Crew-3. That prevented a easy handover in orbit between the 2 crews. Now, the area station has only one NASA astronaut and two Russian astronauts on board, a small head depend that makes upkeep of the area station troublesome.

Three of the 4 astronauts on Crew-3 are flying to area for the primary time.

  • Raja Chari, the mission’s commander, is 44 and would be the fifth astronaut of Indian descent to go to area. He was a check pilot and an Air Force colonel who flew fight missions in Iraq earlier than becoming a member of NASA’s astronaut corps in 2017.

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

  • Kayla Barron, 34, additionally joined NASA’s astronaut corps in 2017. She was among the many first group of ladies to serve on a Navy submarine. She and Mr. Chari are each members of NASA’s Artemis astronaut corps — a cadre of 18 astronauts who’re eligible to journey to or across the moon sooner or later.

  • Tom Marshburn, 61, who will set off on his third trek to orbit since becoming a member of NASA’s astronaut corps in 2004. Mr. Marshburn has flown on two area automobiles previously, serving as a crew member aboard NASA’s Space Shuttle Endeavour in 2009 and on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft in 2013.

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