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SpaceX's Crew-3 astronaut launch for NASA delayed by 'minor medical issue'

The four astronauts of SpaceX's Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station for NASA pose for a photo on the gantry to their Crew Dragon Endurance during a launch rehearsal. They are (from left): ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn, Raja Chari and Kayla Barron.
The four astronauts of SpaceX's Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station for NASA pose for a photo on the gantry to their Crew Dragon Endurance during a launch rehearsal. They are (from left): ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn, Raja Chari and Kayla Barron. (Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX's next astronaut launch for NASA has been delayed until at least Saturday (Nov. 6) by a "minor medical issue" affecting a crewmember, agency officials said.

The mission, known as Crew-3, had been scheduled to lift off early Wednesday morning (Nov. 3) from NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. The earliest it could now launch is 11:36 p.m. EDT on Saturday evening (Nov. 6; 0336 GMT on Nov. 7).

"The issue is not a medical emergency and not related to COVID-19," NASA officials said in an update today (Nov. 1). 

Live updates: SpaceX's Crew-3 astronaut mission

Crew-3 will send NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Kayla Barron and Thomas Marshburn, and the European Space Agency's (ESA) Matthias Maurer, to the International Space Station for a six-month stay. The quartet will ride to the orbiting lab in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule, which will launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

NASA did not identify which crewmember is experiencing the medical issue, nor did it describe the issue in any detail. It's unclear if and when we'll learn much more, given the privacy concerns and considerations surrounding health.

The Crew-3 astronauts remain in quarantine at KSC, agency officials said. This is part of normal prelaunch routine. The Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 "are in good shape and will remain at Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy," NASA officials wrote in the update. 

SpaceX's Crew-3 mission astronauts smile during a launch rehearsal inside their Crew Dragon Endurance capsule on Oct. 28, 2021 ahead of their launch to the International Space Station. (Image credit: SpaceX)

As its name implies, Crew-3 is the third operational mission SpaceX will fly to the station for NASA. The second, Crew-2, launched to the orbiting lab in April and is scheduled to return to Earth soon.

The agency is still evaluating dates for the departure of Crew-2, whose members are NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA's Thomas Pesquet.

Crew-3 was originally supposed to launch early Sunday morning (Oct. 31). NASA and SpaceX stood down from that attempt because of anticipated bad weather, however, pushing the liftoff to Wednesday at the earliest.

Mike Wall is the author of "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook

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Mike Wall
SPACE.COM SENIOR SPACE WRITER — Michael has been writing for Space.com since 2010. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.