After multiple delays, the next flight of a SpaceX Crew Dragon is just hours away.
Four astronauts were set to blast off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center aboard a Crew Dragon on Oct. 31 as part of the SpaceX Crew-3 launch, but the spooky date seems to have unintentionally cursed the liftoff. The Florida weather and a minor medical issue have played havoc with launch day. It can be tough to keep up with all the delays, but don't worry. We've got you covered with the launch right here.
The earliest the launch window will open now is 6:03 p.m. PT (9:03 p.m. ET) on Wednesday, Nov. 10. Backup launch windows open at 5:40 on Nov. 11 and Nov. 12. The webcast usually kicks off around four hours before liftoff. As of Wednesday morning the weather forecast looked 70% favorable for the launch going forward.
The whole thing will be streamed live via CNET Highlights, right here.
The NASA astronauts on this Dragon's passenger list are former US Navy submarine warfare officer Kayla Barron, test pilot Raja Chari and veteran astronaut and emergency physician Tom Marshburn, along with European astronaut Matthias Maurer, a German materials scientist who's been with the European Space Agency for more than a decade.
During their six months aboard the International Space Station, the Crew-3 astronauts are slated to do multiple spacewalks for space station maintenance and also help perform scientific research in orbit involving fiber optics, growing plants without soil and how astronauts' eyes change from exposure to space, among other experiments.
Though the Crew Dragon is a reusable spacecraft, this particular vehicle is a brand-new one that's been dubbed Endurance. The Falcon 9 booster and nose cone have flown before, however.
After liftoff in darkness, the Falcon 9 will return to attempt a landing on a droneship in the Atlantic, and the Dragon will hit speeds over 17,000 miles per hour on its way to intercept the ISS about 22 hours later.
The four astronauts and others already aboard the ISS will welcome two private crews to the space station in coming months as the new era of space tourism accelerates. A group of Japanese tourists will ride a Russian Soyuz capsule to orbit in late 2021, and Axiom Space will conduct its first private astronaut flight to the ISS in early 2022, also on a Crew Dragon.
A Crew Dragon first carried humans in May 2020 when astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken rode it to the ISS, marking the return of human spaceflight to US soil after a nine-year hiatus following the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011. Dragon is one of two vehicles NASA approved for development for its Commercial Crew program. Boeing's Starliner is still in the uncrewed testing phase after failing to reach orbit during a December 2019 test flight.