SpaceX Crew-3 is ready for Historic Halloween launch to International Space Station

A Falcon 9 rocket will be launched into space by SpaceX on Halloween morning, carrying three Americans and a German to the International Space Station. “Endurance,” a new Crew Dragon capsule, will make its first flight on this occasion.

A hectic few days of handover activity will begin after docking as four departing astronauts, who launched to the lab complex in April, bring their replacements up to speed on station operations before returning to Earth on November 5 aboard their own Crew Dragon to bring their 196-day mission to a close.

When it comes to orbit, “that transition is quite brief,” according to Bill Gerstenmaier, a former NASA head of spaceflight operations who now works as a senior management at SpaceX. Therefore, we at SpaceX are working really hard to ensure that we’re ready to launch and that we’re also prepared to recover a vehicle in an extremely short period of time.

One problem that had not been resolved before the countdown began was the investigation of a small modification to avoid leaking in the capsule’s urine collecting system, which had been discovered on the most recent mission. A similar issue is affecting the Crew Dragon “Endeavour,” which is scheduled to return to port next week, although Gerstenmaier said neither issue was likely to have an effect.

Nonetheless, he said, speaking generally, “we need to stay attentive, keep working together as a team and make sure we’re really ready to go fly. Because the worst thing we can do is lose our concentration, believe it’s simple, and then give up.

Simply put, we must continue to inspect and ensure that everything is really ready to take flight.”

There has been an uptick in short-duration commercial trips, ranging from the all-civilian Inspiration4 charity mission in low-Earth orbit in September to a 12-day stay on the space station by a Russian actress and her director only a few of weeks ago.

During an interview with CBS News, Endurance crew member Kayla Barron, a Naval Academy graduate and one of the first women to serve on a Navy submarine, remarked, “We truly feel very blessed to be at NASA at such an exciting moment.”

SpaceX Crew-3 Group Photos – Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn and Matthias Maurer Photo Credit: SpaceX

“We’re really at the dawn of this new era where we have commercial space flight partners who are flying human beings to low-Earth orbit, who are partnering with us in that space and getting ready to kind of take it over so we can focus on exploration, going to the moon so that we can learn how to go to Mars.”

I’ll speak on a more intimate level “In fact, this will be my first rocket launch in person,” she told reporters later, “and I’ll be in the capsule on top of it!” she exclaimed. As a result, I’m quite enthusiastic about the whole experience.”

This journey will be followed by a visit to the space station in December by a Japanese billionaire and his assistant on another Russian Soyuz spacecraft, followed by a Crew Dragon mission to the space station in February that will transport four humans to the space station for a 10-day stay.

Plans for the launch and mission

It is slated for launch from historic pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on Sunday morning at 2:21:06 a.m. EDT. Barron and her crewmates — commander Raja Chari, pilot Thomas Marshburn, and European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer — are set to fly from the space center.

However, mission managers are keeping an eye on sea conditions along the spacecraft’s trajectory to orbit in case the crew is forced to attempt an emergency splashdown following an abort.

Forecasters predict an 80 percent chance of acceptable launch weather, but mission managers are keeping an eye on sea conditions along the spacecraft’s trajectory to orbit.

On Friday, SpaceX tweeted that “Falcon 9 and Dragon are looking excellent for Sunday morning’s launch.” Weather conditions are expected to be 80 percent favorable for liftoff, although crews are keeping an eye on the weather along the ascension route.

If the weather or other circumstances prevent a launch on Sunday, the next chance will be at 1:10 a.m. on Wednesday, November 3, weather permitting.

Marshburn, a medical doctor, has been in space on two previous missions, including a 16-day journey on the space shuttle Endeavour and a 145-day Soyuz mission to the International Space Station. The remaining members of “Crew-3” are first-time space travelers.

Marshburn was one of 598 people who had travelled in space prior to the trip, which included him. Chari and Marshburn are both situated directly in front of Barron and Maurer in the Crew Dragon, which means Chari will become the 599th person to reach space on this mission. By chance, Maurer, assigned mission specialist No. 1, will become the 600th mission specialist, and Barron, designated mission specialist No. 2, will become the 601st.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will carry Endurance into orbit, with the first stage completing its second flight on the way to the upper atmosphere.

After blasting the Crew Dragon out of the dense lower atmosphere, the stage will detach, turn around, and proceed for a landing on an off-shore drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean, some hundred miles downrange. If the mission is successful, it will be SpaceX’s 93rd booster recovery and the company’s 70th at sea.

During this time, the Falcon 9 second stage will continue the ascent to orbit, allowing the Crew Dragon to take off and fly on its own around 12 minutes after lifting off.

From there, Chari, a former F-35 test pilot and combat veteran of the Air Force, will monitor an automated 22-hour rendezvous with the space station, which will approach from behind and below on November 1, looping up directly ahead of the outpost, and then moving in for docking at the forward port of the Harmony module, which will be launched on November 1.

They will be joined by Soyuz MS-19/65S commander Anton Shkaplerov, cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, and Crew-2 astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, as well as European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, who will be waiting to welcome their new crewmates aboard.

While the Crew-3 astronauts will arrive at the International Space Station as Halloween in the United States draws to a close, Barron joked with reporters before launch that “I heard a rumor that Mark Vande Hei could have some ideas in mind for our Halloween costumes.” “Who knows, we could have a surprise in store for you when we go through the hatch for Halloween.”

Crew-2’s departure time might be shifted significantly depending on the weather and the possibility of a flyaround of the station to take a comprehensive high-resolution picture survey of the space station itself. However, it is not anticipated to make a final decision on how to proceed until close to the time of undocking.

On April 9, Dubrov and Vande Hei, as well as Soyuz MS-18/64S commander Oleg Novitskiy, were launched to the International Space Station. In a commercial endeavor with Shkaplerov, Novitskiy returned to Earth on October 14 with Russian actress Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko, who had been launched to the lab with Shkaplerov on October 5 in order to shoot sequences for a science fiction film.

It was Shkaplerov who stayed behind on the space station to accompany Dubrov and Vande Hei home on the Soyuz MS-19/65S spacecraft on March 30 following year, after they had spent almost one year and three hundred fifty-five days in orbit. A Soyuz rocket carrying their successors will launch 12 days sooner than their predecessors.

It is expected that the four astronauts will stay on the station until the end of April, when they will be replaced by another four astronauts who will be transported to the station on another new Crew Dragon, the fourth in SpaceX’s inventory.

They’ll keep themselves occupied in the meanwhile.

In his suitcase, Maurer said, “we have perhaps 300, 350 experiments, with approximately 10% of them being European experiments.” Maurer, who has a degree in materials science and engineering, claimed the majority of the experiments were from Europe.

In addition to material science, engineering, life sciences, technology demonstrations, and tests that will allow us to take the next step, from low Earth orbit to exploration and ultimately flight to the moon,” says the scientist.

As part of their extensive research program, the Crew Dragon astronauts plan three spacewalks: one next month by Marshburn and Barron to repair an S-band radio antenna and two more in March to begin installation of new roll-out solar array support components for the space station.

During the months of January and April, the Russians plan four separate expeditions to complete the outfitting of the new Nauka multi-purpose laboratory module.

We have a lot of interesting things planned, from spacewalks to scientific experiments, as well as visiting from private astronaut flights and spaceflight participants, according to Barron. “We have a lot of exciting things planned,” Barron added. “To be joining such an experienced crew onboard the space station is a bit of a dream assignment for a first-time pilot,” says the astronaut.

Opening up low-Earth orbit for commercial passengers

With the launch of Endurance, NASA will have completed the fourth piloted Crew Dragon flight as part of the Commercial Crew Program, as well as the third operational flight transporting humans on a long-duration mission. As a result, NASA has designated the mission as Crew-3.

The consistent launch schedule is the result of NASA’s decision, following the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011, to fund the development of American-built astronaut ferry ships, which will allow the agency to stop relying solely on Russian Soyuz spacecraft for transportation to and from the International Space Station.

Unlike NASA contracts, which allowed SpaceX and Boeing to develop the Crew Dragon and CST-100 Starliner, the NASA contracts allowed both companies to retain ownership of the spacecraft and to launch private citizens on purely commercial, non-government missions in addition to NASA-sponsored missions.

Ultimately, the objective is to stimulate private-sector development of low-Earth orbit, including civilian trips to the space station and other destinations, allowing NASA to devote its resources to deep space research, including the Artemis moon mission and, ultimately, missions to Mars.

It is expected that Axiom, a Houston-based company, would send up retired astronaut Mike Lopez-Alegria and three entrepreneurs on a SpaceX Crew Dragon in February, bringing the first four SpaceX guests to the outpost. The “AX-1” crew members will spend around ten days onboard the space station doing their own research before returning to the Earth’s surface.

“It’s pretty exciting because it is evidence of this new era we’ve entered that I mentioned earlier, that we’re kind of sharing low-Earth orbit,” Barron said. “It’s not just government astronauts anymore who are going to be in space, it’s also private astronaut missions, like the Axiom mission, or the space flight participants coming up with the Russian flight (in December).

“Having four guests show up at your house where you also work is a challenge for sure, but it’s one that we’re trying to approach with a sense of teamwork. … It’s really cool to be a part of that history. We’re excited to welcome them into our house.”

About Alex Bruno

Check Also

Japan Just Launched a Reusable Rocket Project, Following Elon Musk’s SpaceX

According to Nikkei, Japan’s national space agency will collaborate with over 30 Japanese firms and …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *