HomeScienceHow to watch SpaceX’s Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station

How to watch SpaceX’s Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station

SpaceX is launching one other crew to area this weekend, sending 4 astronauts to the Worldwide House Station for a six-month-long keep in orbit. Touring inside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, the crew will get an early begin on their mission, with liftoff scheduled for two:21AM ET on October thirty first out of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The mission is named Crew-3, and it’ll carry NASA astronauts Thomas Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron, in addition to European House Company astronaut Matthias Maurer. This would be the first journey to area for Maurer, Barron, and Chari — the mission’s commander. For Marshburn, this will probably be his third flight to area, and for every of his missions, he’s flown on a unique car. His first flight was on the House Shuttle and his second flight was on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft. Now he’ll get to expertise the Crew Dragon, which the astronauts have nicknamed “Endurance.”

Crew-3 is SpaceX’s third operational crewed flight for NASA as a part of the area company’s Business Crew Program — an initiative to make use of non-public automobiles to ferry NASA astronauts to and from the Worldwide House Station. As a part of its preliminary contract with NASA, SpaceX is slated to carry out as much as six crewed flights for the company, with two flights tentatively scheduled for subsequent 12 months. Nevertheless, NASA not too long ago indicated it’s already pondering of how you can transport astronauts past these preliminary missions.

Whereas that is SpaceX’s third operational mission, it’s really the corporate’s fifth time launching folks to orbit on the corporate’s Crew Dragon spacecraft. To be able to show the Crew Dragon’s security for NASA, SpaceX launched two NASA astronauts to the ISS in Could 2020. That first profitable take a look at flight paved the way in which for SpaceX to begin doing routine flights with Crew Dragon.

And in September, SpaceX launched a crewed flight known as Inspiration4 that carried 4 non-NASA astronauts to orbit. Touted as an all-civilian crew, the passengers included a tech billionaire — who paid for the journey — a childhood most cancers survivor, a professor, and an engineer. The foursome, who stayed in orbit for simply three days, used the launch as a option to elevate charity for St. Jude’s Youngsters’s Hospital. It was SpaceX’s first actually non-public human spaceflight mission.

Although Inspiration4 wasn’t a NASA mission, SpaceX discovered just a few issues from that flight that can assist with the upcoming Crew-3 journey.


The Crew Dragon that flew the Inspiration4 flight operated fairly easily, apart from one key component contained in the spacecraft: the bathroom. This week, SpaceX revealed {that a} tube in the bathroom that transports urine right into a storage tank got here unglued. This induced urine to spray into the bathroom’s fan system as a substitute and pool below the ground. It wasn’t actually an issue through the flight itself.

“We didn’t actually even discover it; the crew didn’t discover it till we acquired again,” William Gerstenmaier, vp of construct and flight reliability at SpaceX, stated throughout a press convention forward of flight. “We acquired the car again, we seemed below the ground, and we noticed the truth that there was contamination beneath the ground.”

After seeing this, SpaceX fearful that the identical downside is perhaps taking place on the Crew Dragon used for Crew-2, which is at the moment docked with the Worldwide House Station. Certain sufficient, the astronauts on the area station went inside that Crew Dragon and located comparable urine contamination below the ground of the bathroom.

A glimpse at the bathroom contained in the Crew Dragon.
Picture: ESA / NASA / Thomas Pesquet

The primary concern with this pooling is that it’s not simply urine amassing below the ground; SpaceX provides a compound to the urine known as Oxone, which removes the ammonia from the liquid to assist do away with odor and forestall micro organism from rising. However SpaceX grew to become fearful that the combination of Oxone and urine within the flooring may really corrode the spacecraft itself. The corporate did exams that concerned combining the urine and Oxone combination with aluminum — the first metallic used to make Crew Dragon — inside a chamber that simulated the identical temperature and humidity on board the spacecraft.

The bathroom problem was extra of an issue on Inspiration4, for the reason that crew spent their whole mission inside Crew Dragon, utilizing the toilet for a number of days, resulting in extra potential corrosion. Most of SpaceX’s different Crew Dragon missions ship folks straight to the Worldwide House Station, so astronauts are usually solely utilizing the bathroom earlier than docking. Additionally SpaceX claims that the aluminum alloy it makes use of on Crew Dragon is “very insensitive” to corrosion.

SpaceX opted to repair the bathroom problem anyway by making the bathroom an “all-welded construction” in order that there are now not any elements or tubes that may come unglued. That method no undesirable liquids will trigger any hassle once more.


Crew-3 is ready to take off from SpaceX’s launch website LC-39A at Kennedy House Middle. The crew will then spend rather less than a full day in orbit earlier than rendezvousing with the Worldwide House Station. Crew Dragon is designed to dock autonomously with the ISS, however the astronauts can leap in through the course of if essential.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon, on the firm’s LC-39A launch website.
Picture: NASA / Joel Kowsky

As soon as Crew-3 arrives, there will probably be a altering of the guard. The 4 Crew-2 astronauts already on board the area station will greet the incoming astronauts and get them settled. Then in mid-November, the Crew-2 members will climb into their very own Crew Dragon and return again to Earth.

As for the Crew-3 astronauts, they’ll be on board the ISS for six months, scheduled to return again someday within the spring of subsequent 12 months.


SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will take off on Sunday, October thirty first, from NASA’s Kennedy House Middle in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Scheduled launch time: New York: 2:21AM / San Francisco: 11:21PM / London: 7:21AM / Berlin: 8:21AM / Moscow: 9:21AM / New Delhi: 11:51AM / Beijing: 2:21PM / Tokyo: 3:21PM / Melbourne: 5:21PM


Livestream: NASA’s livestream protection could be discovered on YouTube and on the company’s web site.



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