NASA and SpaceX change Crew-3 launch to October 31

NASA and SpaceX have announced that they have changed the launch date for the Crew-3 mission. The launch is now targeting Sunday, October 31 at 2:21 AM ET. The Crew-3 mission will see four astronauts head to the ISS. In addition, a backup launch date of 1:10 AM EDT on Wednesday, November 3, has been announced.

Crew-3 astronauts include NASA's Raja Chari acting as the mission commander, Tom Marshburn acting as pilot, and Kayla Barron acting as a mission specialist. ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer is also part of the crew and is a mission specialist. Crewmembers will launch aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule called Endurance, pushed into orbit utilizing a Falcon 9 rocket.

The launch will be conducted from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center, with the crew going into official quarantine on October 16. Crew-3 astronauts are part of a long-duration science mission that will see the four crew members living aboard ISS as part of a seven-member crew. NASA expects Endurance to arrive at the ISS in the early morning hours of November 1.

After adjusting the launch date for Crew-3, the return to Earth for Crew-2 has been delayed. Crew-2 will return to earth aboard the Crew Dragon Endeavor. They will splash down at one of seven landing zones off the coast of Florida.

Crew-2 astronauts include NASA's Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA's Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA's Thomas Pesquet. Pesquet has kept himself busy aboard the ISS during his downtime by taking some beautiful photographs that NASA shared. The Crew-2 return date is currently planned for early November, with no specific date confirmed by SpaceX or NASA at this time. While the Crew-3 mission is a long-term mission, it's unclear how long the astronauts will spend aboard the ISS.