Hawthorne-based SpaceX’s planned launch of another set of astronauts to the International Space Station was delayed again Monday, this time due to a “minor medical issue” with one of the astronauts.
The four-member crew was originally scheduled to launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida at 11:21 p.m. California time last Saturday. But due to weather issues, the flight was pushed back to 10:10 p.m. California time this Wednesday.
On Monday, however, SpaceX announced another delay in the flight, citing a “minor medical issue involving one of its crew members.” The flight is now set for liftoff at 8:36 p.m. California time Saturday.
According to NASA, the issue “is not a medical emergency and not related to COVID-19.”
“The agency takes every effort to protect the crew prior to its launch through a health stabilization plan,” according to NASA. “Crew-3 astronauts will remain in quarantine at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida while preparing for their launch.”
Flying aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft Endurance will be NASA astronauts Raja Chari, mission commander; Tom Marshburn, pilot; and Kayla Barron, mission specialist. Also aboard will be European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer, also a mission specialist.
The astronauts have been dubbed Crew-3, as part of SpaceX’s third official manned flight to the space station. They will be greeted upon arrival by the four-member crew of the last manned SpaceX flight, Crew-2, who have been aboard the station since April.
That crew — NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet — are expected to return to Earth in early November aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule Endeavour.
McArthur, who grew up in Northern California, is a UCLA graduate in aerospace engineering, and she earned a doctorate in oceanography at UC San Diego, where she was a researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
In November 2020, SpaceX sent its first official crew to the space station in a separate Dragon spacecraft, dubbed Resilience.
SpaceX’s first manned mission to the space station occurred last summer with the launch of two astronauts from Cape Canaveral in the Endeavour capsule, a flight that marked the first manned mission to launch from U.S. soil since the Space Shuttle program was retired. But that trip was technically dubbed a demonstration flight to test the capabilities of the Crew Dragon spacecraft.