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SpaceX's next astronaut launch for NASA delayed to Oct. 3

 The crew of SpaceX’s Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station. From left: Koichi Wakata of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, and NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada.
The crew of SpaceX’s Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station. From left: Koichi Wakata of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, and NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada. (Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX's next astronaut launch for NASA has been pushed back four days, to Oct. 3.

SpaceX and NASA had been targeting Sept. 29 for the launch of the Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station (ISS). But the flight will now lift off no earlier than Oct. 3, NASA announced in an update today (opens in new tab) (Aug. 25).  

"The date adjustment allows for extra separation with spacecraft traffic coming to and from the space station," agency officials said in the brief update, which did not identify the specific missions that are of traffic-jam concern.

In pictures: Amazing launch photos of SpaceX's Crew-4 mission

If all goes according to plan, Crew-5 will now launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Oct. 3 at 12:45 p.m. EDT (1645 GMT). You can watch it live here at Space.com when the time comes, courtesy of NASA and SpaceX.

The mission will send four astronauts to the ISS aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule: NASA's Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata and cosmonaut Anna Kikina, who will become the first Russian to fly on a private American spacecraft.

These four spaceflyers will overlap briefly on the ISS with the members of SpaceX's most recent astronaut mission, Crew-4, which launched in April and is set to return to Earth in early October. 

This isn't Crew-5's first launch delay. NASA and SpaceX previously pushed the targeted liftoff back from early September to Sept. 29 to accommodate repair work on the Falcon 9's first stage. The booster was damaged while being hauled from SpaceX's factory in Southern California to the company's test site in McGregor, Texas, striking a bridge along the way.

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

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with Space.com (opens in new tab) and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. 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.