Bad Weather, Astronaut's Medical Issue Force Delay of SpaceX Launch to Next Week

The next SpaceX launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, has been delayed another week, the Associated Press reported.

NASA is attributing the delay of the SpaceX Crew-3 to two reasons. One involves one of the astronauts, who has suffered what was called a "minor medical issue" in a statement. The agency has not identified the crew member, whom they said should be fine by November 8. Weather is the other reason.

"The weather in November can be especially challenging," NASA commercial crew program manager Steve Stich said, "so our goal is to move forward on the plan with the highest probability of mission assurance and crew safety,"

The U.S.-German crew was supposed to launch into space last weekend, but inclement weather resulted in a delay.

NASA is trying to determine if they want to have the astronauts in the International Space Station (ISS) return before the new crew arrives. The occupants of the ISS have been there since April.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Crew-3 Crew
The official portraits of astronauts (from left) Raja Chari, Kayla Barron, Matthias Maurer of Germany and Tom Marshburn are displayed as a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the crew's Dragon capsule attached sits on Launch Pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on October 29, 2021. On Thursday, officials announced the next SpaceX astronaut flight is off until at least next week as more bad weather looms and flight surgeons continue to monitor a “minor medical issue” affecting one of the four astronauts. AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File

The soonest the astronauts in space could return in their SpaceX capsule is Sunday; that would further postpone the next crew launch.

Managers at NASA are also reviewing how many days would be needed between the two events.

Also factoring into the equation is the amount of time a SpaceX capsule can remain in orbit before its systems are degraded. The company's Dragon capsules are designed to spend 210 days aloft; the one up there now logged day 195 on Thursday. Additional analysis could extend the acceptable amount of time, according to NASA.

If the four astronauts come home first, the station will remain occupied by an American and two Russians.

Newsweek previously reported that the Crew-3 launch will be the first spaceflight for mission commander Raja Chari and specialists Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer. The fourth astronaut on the mission, pilot Tom Marshburn, has spent more than 146 days in space and completed more than five hours of spacewalk time.

ISS Delay
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and crew's Dragon capsule on launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center after its scheduled launch was delayed on November 1, 2021, in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The rocket's launch has been postponed because of a minor medical issue with a crew member and bad weather. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images