The U.S. agency announced Saturday that NASA and SpaceX have postponed the launch of a rocket that will send four astronauts to the International Space Station to avoid “a major storm system.”
The crew of the “Crew-3” mission was scheduled to depart from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday aboard the Crew Dragon capsule called “Endurance” attached to the Falcon 9 rocket.
The launch will finally take place at 1:10 a.m. Wednesday local time, and “Group-3 will arrive at the space station at about 11 a.m. the same evening,” NASA said.
They will go on a “brief handover” to astronauts who flew to the station as part of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 ‘mission, including Thomas Pesket, a Frenchman who has been on the ISS since April.
SpaceX said on its website on Thursday, November 4, that “relief will be available” if Wednesday’s re-launch becomes impossible.
Fiber Optics and Horticulture
Crew 3 is the third regular unmanned mission by SpaceX on behalf of NASA, and is part of a multi-billion dollar agreement signed by a US agency with Elon Musk’s private company after it was shut down for its own space shuttle project in 2011.
The Crew-3 team will spend six months in orbit and conduct research aimed at facilitating future long-range space exploration or reviving useful knowledge on Earth.
This work involves experimenting with growing plants in space without soil or other growth substrate. The other aims to produce optical fibers in microgravity, which, according to research already done, will deliver higher quality than those produced in the Earth’s atmosphere.
The Crew-3 astronauts will undertake space missions to complete the renovation of the ISS’s solar panels, and they will make two cruises: the Japanese were brought in by the Russian Soyuz spacecraft later this year, and then the passengers on the Space-X axis mission, scheduled for February 2022.