Crew-3 Up and Away

Crew-3 Up and Away

Four astronauts on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endurance are in orbit tonight, headed to the International Space Station. The launch was delayed by weather and a minor medical issue afflicting one of the crew, but everything went smoothly today. They will dock tomorrow evening.

The Crew-3 crew of NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron, and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, lifted off from Kennedy Space Center, FL at 9:03 pm ET.  They will dock at the space station tomorrow at 7:10 pm ET.

Crew-3 crew, L-R: Raja Chari (NASA), Thomas Marshburn (NASA), Matthias Maurer (ESA), Kayla Barron (NASA). Photographer: Robert Markowitz
Liftoff of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket with Crew-3 aboard the Endurance Crew Dragon. November 10, 2021. Screengrab.


Crew-3 crew in orbit tonight with their zero-g indicator, a turtle, floating near the window and demonstrating they are weightless. Screengrab.

Marshburn is a veteran of two previous flights. Chari and Barron are rookies. They were selected for NASA’s astronaut corps in 2017 and their class calls themselves the Turtles, hence the turtle as a zero-gravity indicator. Maurer also is on his first flight.

This Crew Dragon spacecraft, Endurance, also is on its first spaceflight. Crew Dragons are reusable, but this one is brand new.

The other two are named Endeavour and Resilience.  Endeavour just returned from the space station Monday night, bringing Crew-2 home after 199 days in space.

The plan was to launch Crew-3  on October 31 before Crew-2 came back to give the crews time to hand off operations from one to the other, but that was thwarted by weather and what NASA continues to call a “minor medical issue” with one of the Crew-3 crew members. Medical privacy rules prevent NASA from disclosing any details about the problem, even whether it was an illness or an injury, and the crew member has chosen not to share that information. Whatever it was, the crew was cleared for flight yesterday.

They will dock at the space station tomorrow evening, restoring the crew complement to its usual seven. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and two Russian colleagues, Anton Shkaplerov and Pytor Dubrov are there now. They are using Russian Soyuz spacecraft for transportation so are not part of the SpaceX Crew Dragon rotations.

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