NASA: ‘Significant solar flare’ won’t delay SpaceX Crew-3 launch on Halloween this weekend

NASA officials stated today that the SpaceX’s Halloween astronaut launch for the agency would not be affected by a big solar flare that’s predicted to hit Earth this weekend.

The rocket is expected to blast off at 2:21 a.m. EDT (0621 GMT) on Sunday (Oct. 31), and you can watch the launch and prelaunch activity live at Space.com.

As part of the mission, four astronauts — NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron together with European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Matthias Maurer — will strap into a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and blast out on a six-month journey to the International Space Station (ISS) (ISS).

Agency officials, together with NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, reviewed the planned trip with media on Friday (Oct. 29), stating that the mission was on schedule to launch early Sunday morning.

When questioned about how a large solar flare would influence the mission, Kathy Lueders, assistant administrator for the Space Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, responded that it will not disrupt the launch at all.

On Thursday (Oct. 28), a powerful X1-class solar flare erupted from the sun, sending a massive cloud of charged particles hurtling toward Earth.

That cloud should arrive over Halloween weekend, slamming into the Earth’s atmosphere. It’s expected to amplify the regular northern lights caused by the sun’s solar wind. Fortunately for NASA, it doesn’t pose a threat to the launch; the main cause for concern is weather along the abort corridor.

Forecasters at the 45th Space Delta continue to predict favorable conditions here at the launch site; however, it’s a different story downrange. SpaceX and NASA have to monitor weather in multiple areas in case something goes wrong during the flight and the crew needs to abort.

The agency and weather experts said they will continue to watch the weather for the time being, but that they are still on schedule to launch the spacecraft early in the morning on Halloween.

SpaceX fires up Falcon 9 rocket that will launch crew-3 to ISS

SpaceX fired up the Flacon 9 that is going to send astronauts to the International Space Station this weekend. The test was conducted on 18 October at Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. It was a static fire test that makes it a major milestone for the company.

The launch will be sending Crew-3, SpaceX’s third crew astronauts that will be going to the ISS for NASA. Along with the three NASA astronauts, this time there will be one German Spaceflyer. As SpaceX is done with a static fire test the rocket is ready to fly. During the test, the smoke and fire billowed briefly as the rocket’s first stage Merlin 1D engine was lit while the rocket was on the pad.

SpaceX will be moving forward for a Halloween launch as they celebrate the success by announcing through a tweet. Crew-3 is set to blast off on 31 October, 2:21 AM EDT. The Crew Dragon capsule that will be going is named Endurance skyward.

Following a successful liftoff, the rocket’s first stage booster is to land on the droneship, Just Read the Instructions. As per the schedule the Endurance will spend less than 24 hours trailing the space station before arriving on Monday at orbital outpost.

Brand new rocket

Endurance is a brand new rocket that is at the top list which is to be flown in space. It’s first stage launched a robotic cargo earlier this year. Both Falcon 9 and Endurance were bought from their hangar and were sent to the launchpad Wednesday morning. It is 215 feet tall and the pair could be seen as they lifted off during the test launch.

Prior to the test fire, the team worked during the night on the rocket as they loaded it with super chilled propellants, liquid oxygen and kerosene. Then there were fired at 1 AM EDT on Thursday. SpaceX revied the data and confirmed by announcing though Twitter.

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