SpaceX, NASA delay launch of Crew-3 astronauts to space station due to weather

Update for Nov. 1: NASA and SpaceX have delayed the Crew-3 launch again, citing a "minor medical issue" with one of the astronauts. Crew-3 is now schedule to launch no earlier than Saturday (Nov. 6) at 11:36 p.m. EDT (0336 Nov. 7 GMT).

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — There'll be no spooky astronaut launch for SpaceX this Halloween. 

SpaceX and NASA have delayed the next launch of four astronauts to the International Space Station due to unfavorable weather conditions along the flight path. 

A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket were scheduled to launch the mission, called Crew-3, early Sunday morning (Oct. 31) from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center here in Florida. But today, NASA announced the 72-hour delay, citing poor weather conditions along the rocket's flight path. Instead, SpaceX is now targeting a launch on Wednesday (Nov. 3). Liftoff is set for 1:10 a.m. EDT (0510 GMT). 

You can watch the launch live here and on the homepage, courtesy of NASA, or directly via the space agency. Coverage begins at 8:45 p.m. EDT Tuesday (0045 GMT on Sunday). 

Live Updates: SpaceX's Crew-3 astronaut mission

SpaceX's Crew Dragon Endurance and its Falcon 9 rocket stand atop Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch has been delayed to Nov. 3, 2021.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon Endurance and its Falcon 9 rocket stand atop Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch has been delayed to Nov. 3, 2021. (Image credit: SpaceX)

"NASA and SpaceX now are targeting 1:10 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Nov. 3, for the agency's Crew-3 launch to the International Space Station due to a large storm system meandering across the Ohio Valley and through the northeastern United States this weekend, elevating winds and waves in the Atlantic Ocean along the Crew Dragon flight path for the Oct. 31 launch attempt," agency officials wrote in a blog post.

 Forecasters said the weather here at Cape Canaveral will likely be good on launch day, with a 90% chance of favorable conditions for liftoff. However, down range the weather doesn't look as promising. SpaceX requires good weather at its launch site and a splashdown site downrange in case it's needed in a launch emergency. If the mission is unable to get off the ground on Sunday, NASA says the next attempt will be Wednesday (Nov. 3).

Crew-3 carries three NASA astronauts and one international spaceflyer. The mission is commanded by NASA's Raja Chari, with fellow NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn serving as pilot and Kayla Barron as a mission specialist. Also on board will be European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer, who will become the 600th person in space. It will also mark the first spaceflight for Chari, Barron, and Maurer. 

"You don't see many rookie commanders," Holly Ridings, chief flight director for Flight Operations Directorate at NASA's Johnson Space Center said during a prelaunch news briefing. "It's really just a testament to what an amazing person he is; he's incredibly, incredibly capable as they all are." 

"But in particular, he's just done an outstanding job." 

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 on Nov. 3, 2021. (Image credit: SpaceX)

Crew-3 will also mark the 129th launch of a Falcon 9 rocket so far this year, and the 93rd recovery of a first-stage booster (if all goes as planned). SpaceX’s drone ship "Just Read the Instructions" is positioned out in the Atlantic Ocean, awaiting its planned recovery attempt. Approximately nine minutes after liftoff, the two-stage rocket’s first stage is expected to touch down on the deck of the massive ship. 

The rocket featured in this mission has one flight under its belt so far, having lofted a different Dragon spacecraft in June as part of a cargo resupply mission to the ISS. It rolled to the pad on Wednesday morning, and SpaceX test-fired its engines later that evening, certifying that the rocket was good to go. 

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Amy Thompson
Contributing Writer

Amy Thompson is a Florida-based space and science journalist, who joined as a contributing writer in 2015. She's passionate about all things space and is a huge science and science-fiction geek. Star Wars is her favorite fandom, with that sassy little droid, R2D2 being her favorite. She studied science at the University of Florida, earning a degree in microbiology. Her work has also been published in Newsweek, VICE, Smithsonian, and many more. Now she chases rockets, writing about launches, commercial space, space station science, and everything in between.