SpaceX rolls out Falcon 9 rocket for NASA's Crew-3 Halloween launch

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is rolled out to the launch pad ready to launch the Crew-3 mission.  (Image credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

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).

The rocket and its counterpart, SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule, rolled out of the hangar to the launch pad on Wednesday morning (Oct. 27) ahead of final prelaunch checks. 

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. 

Related: Crew-3 astronauts are ready and excited for 6-month SpaceX mission

Live Updates: SpaceX's Crew-3 astronaut mission

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is rolled out for the Crew-3 launch. (Image credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

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. 

A SpaceX Falcon 9 is raised up on the launch pad ahead of Crew-3. (Image credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

"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. 

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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.

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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.