The weather postponed the launch of SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts for NASA

The year was exhausting for a human space flight, with three short tourist flights to the edge of space, an orbital trip by a team of amateur astronauts, a Russian film crew shooting film scenes in orbit, and two Chinese crews visiting the country’s new space station.

During all this activity, American and Russian spacecraft traveled to and from the International Space Station. The flight was scheduled for Sunday morning, but will now be rescheduled for early hours on Wednesday morning.

The weather around NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, from where the Falcon 9 will launch, is expected to be favorable for a timely takeoff.

But “it’s not just about what happens on the launch pad,” said Will Ulrich, an officer during launch time at the 45th Space Wing of the Space Forces at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Officials are also monitoring weather conditions along the route by which the Falcon 9 enters space, a route called the ascent corridor that runs north along the east coast. If Crew Dragon needs to launch its emergency interruption system to save astronauts from rocket problems when it launches, the capsule should land in good weather anywhere along that corridor.

As a big storm crosses the northeast this weekend, NASA wrote in a blog that the wind and waves in this corridor were not safe enough for the journey to proceed in time.

The launch is therefore postponed to Wednesday, with a new take-off time even earlier, at 1.10, when the weather conditions are expected to be favorable both on the launch sites and along the corridor.

Three of the four astronauts on Crew-3 are flying into space for the first time.

  • Raja Chari, the mission commander, is 44 years old and will be the fifth astronaut of Indian descent to go into space. He was a test pilot and air force colonel who flew on combat missions in Iraq before joining the NASA Astronaut Corps in 2017.

  • Matthias Maurer, a Crew-3 mission specialist, is a German astronaut representing the European Space Agency. The 51-year-old Maurer joined the European Astronaut Corps in 2015.

  • Kayla Barron, 34, also joined NASA’s astronaut corps in 2017. She was among the first groups of women to serve on a naval submarine. She and Mr. Chari are members of NASA’s Artemis Astronautical Corps – a cadre of 18 astronauts who are eligible to travel to or around the Moon in the future.

  • Tom Marshburn, 61, will be embarking on his third orbit since joining NASA’s astronaut corps in 2004. Mr. Marshburn has flown in two spacecraft in the past, in 2009 as a crew member aboard the NASA Space Shuttle Endeavor. Russian Soyuz spacecraft in 2013.

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon is a drop-shaped astronaut capsule that can accommodate up to seven people, but has so far only flown with a four-man crew. The capsule is launched into space on top of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, detached from the amplifier once in orbit, and uses a set of small built-in thrusters to gradually push toward an encounter with the International Space Station.

Flights usually take about 24 hours. Shortly after reaching space, the Crew Dragon lifts a top cover similar to the tip of an eggshell to reveal its plug-in adapter. The spacecraft approaches the space station in a head-forward position and lands independently on one of the station’s entrance doors.

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