SpaceX's Crew-3 astronaut launch for NASA delayed by 'minor medical issue'

SpaceX astronauts pose on the gantry of their Crew Dragon Endurance during a launch practice. From left to right: ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer and NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn (left to right) Kayla Barron (right to center)
Officials from SpaceX announced that SpaceX's next NASA astronaut launch has been delayed to Saturday (Nov. 6). This was due to a minor medical issue affecting one of its crew members.

Crew-3 was scheduled to launch Wednesday morning (Nov. 3), from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It could launch at 11:36 EDT on Saturday night (Nov. 6; 0336 GMT Nov. 7).

NASA officials stated that the issue was not a medical emergency, and is not related to COVID-19 in a Nov. 1 update.

Live updates: SpaceX's Crew-3 mission to the astronauts

Crew-3 will transport NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Kayla Barron, as well as Matthias Maurer from the European Space Agency (ESA), to the International Space Station for a six month stay. The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule will transport the quartet to the orbiting laboratory on top of a Falcon 9 rocket.

NASA didn't identify the crewmember who is suffering from the medical problem, nor did they describe the issue in detail. Given privacy concerns and other considerations, it's not clear when or if we will learn more.

Officials at KSC said that the Crew-3 astronauts are still in quarantine. This is normal prelaunch procedure. NASA officials stated that the Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 are in "good shape" and would remain at Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy.

Crew-3 astronauts from SpaceX smiled during a launch rehearsal in their Crew Dragon Endurance capsule, Oct. 28, 2021 before their launch to International Space Station. SpaceX image credit

Crew-3, as its name suggests, is the third operational SpaceX mission that will fly to the station. Crew-2, the second operational mission, was launched to orbit in April. It is expected to return to Earth shortly.

The agency is still considering dates for Crew-2's departure. Crew-2's members include NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hashide, and Thomas Pesquet from the ESA.

Crew-3 was originally scheduled to launch on Sunday, October 31st. NASA and SpaceX pulled out of that attempt due to expected bad weather. However, NASA and SpaceX moved the liftoff to Wednesday.