CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, which will ferry NASA's next group of astronauts to space has rolled to the pad. The mission, called Crew-3, is set to blast off from Pad 39A here at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) at 2:21 a.m. EDT (0621 GMT) on Halloween this Sunday (Oct. 31).
Perched atop its launcher, the 215-foot-tall (65-meter) vehicle, made up of both the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon craft, was raised to vertical soon after.
Live Updates: SpaceX's Crew-3 astronaut mission
The four Crew-3 astronauts who will launch aboard this flight — NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron as well as European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer — arrived at KSC on Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 26) and were able to check out their rocket before it made the trek to the pad.
During a prelaunch chat with reporters on Wednesday morning, Chari said that seeing their vehicle in the hangar was a special experience.
"Last night we got to see Endurance in the hangar and actually put our hands on our Dragon, so that was a very special experience," he said. He followed up these prelaunch comments with a tweet late Wednesday afternoon, confirming that the rocket was standing tall atop the launch pad.
"Amazing what a day can do. #Crew3 checked out #Endurance in the @SpaceX hangar last night before pad roll-out & now it’s at @NASAKennedy atop launch pad 39a where many @NASA_Astronauts started their journeys to space," Chari tweeted on Wednesday afternoon.
Timelapse of Falcon 9 and Dragon going vertical pic.twitter.com/WEp20JfU9tOctober 27, 2021
The workhorse of the mission is a previously-flown booster — booster B1067 — which has one flight under its belt to date. In June, the booster propelled a different Dragon spacecraft for a cargo mission to the space station. For its second act, the newest frequent flyer in SpaceX's fleet will carry this Crew Dragon, named Endurance, and its crew of astronauts.
If all goes according to plan, Endurance will dock with the orbiting lab at around 12:10 a.m. EDT (0410 GMT) on Monday (Nov. 1), following its planned Halloween launch.