NASA's SpaceX Crew-3 Launch Date Changed Again After Astronaut's 'Medical Issue'

The launch of NASA's SpaceX Crew-3 mission has been delayed for a second time.

The mission was originally scheduled for launch on Sunday, October 31, but had to be pushed back to November 3 because of the formation of a "large storm system" in the area.

On Monday, the space agency announced that the mission would have to be rescheduled again, this time due to a "medical issue" involving one of the crew members.

NASA hasn't revealed the nature of the medical issue, but described it as "minor."

"The issue is not a medical emergency and not related to COVID-19," the space agency added.

The crew members will remain in quarantine while preparing for the mission.

The SpaceX Crew-3 mission marks the first ever spaceflight for mission commander Raja Chari, and specialists Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer.

Pilot Tom Marshburn completed his first spaceflight in 2009, and spent more than 146 days in space after being launched to the International Space Station in December 2012.

He also logged more than five hours of spacewalk time, while having to perform emergency maintenance on a leaking ammonia pump.

The new launch date for the SpaceX Crew-3 mission has been tentatively scheduled for the upcoming weekend, NASA saying that 11:36 p.m. ET on the evening of Saturday, November 6, will be the "earliest possible opportunity."

The SpaceX Crew-2 mission launched on April 23, carrying Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Akihiko Hoshide and Thomas Pesquet to the International Space Station.

They had been due to undock from the space station and commence their journey back to Earth on Sunday, November 7, but it's possible that will also be delayed.

Reviewing the Options

NASA says it will "continue to evaluate dates," and that it is "reviewing options including both direct and indirect handovers for the upcoming crew rotation at the microgravity laboratory."

The SpaceX Crew-3 members will fly aboard a new Crew Dragon spacecraft measuring 26.7 feet high and 13 feet in diameter, which has been named "Endurance."

The spacecraft will be propelled by a Falcon 9 launch vehicle from Space Launch Complex 39A at NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island in Florida.

The journey is expected to take roughly 22 hours.

The SpaceX Crew-3 members are set for a six-month stay at the International Space Station, where they will spend "several months conducting science and maintenance."

Their return to Earth has been scheduled for late April next year.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on April 23, 2021, in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Crew-3 members are set for a six-month stay on the International Space Station. Joe Raedle/Getty Images