SpaceX and NASA set a launch date for the third operational Crew Dragon mission to International Space Station. The crew-3 mission launch date is set for Saturday, Oct. 30 at 2:43 a.m.
The Crew-3 mission astronauts will be launched onboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket flying from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at the Kennedy Space Center.
The crew member of the mission will comprise NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, joined by the European Space Agency’s Matthias Maurer. The mission will be directed by Raja Chari. Raja Chari will become the first novice astronaut to command an orbital NASA mission since STS-2 in 1981.
This is the second time that the Crew Dragon mission to be directed by a novice astronaut, following by the private Inspiration4 mission which was directed by Jared Isaacman.
Dragon spacecraft are developed at SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California. After completing assembly and testing in Hawthorne, C210-1 was transported to the Dragon Processing Facility in Florida.
Currently, the Dragon is undergoing pre-launch testing and assembly. The pre-launch process contains electromagnetic interference and acoustic testing, as well as integrated testing of the overall Dragon spacecraft.
Once docked, Dragon and its crew members will endure at the International Space Station for nearly six months. Crew-3 mission members will join the members of Expedition 66 crew and Crew-2 Dragon spacecraft’s members.
SpaceX Crew-2 Dragon members are expected to come back to the Earth in mid of November. The Crew-2 Dragon member includes NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide.