As usual, a Falcon 9 will perform the heavy lifting. The trusty SpaceX rocket will depart from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying a shiny new Crew Dragon capsule, called Endurance, along with it. Following separation, the Falcon 9 first stage will attempt a landing on the droneship A Shortfall of Gravitas, currently stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
The 45th Weather Squadron has assigned a 70% chance of favorable weather conditions for launch, the concerns being cumulus clouds and “flight through precipitation.” In the event of a scrub, the next launch window opens on Thursday, November 11 at 8:40 p.m. ET.
The Crew-3 mission includes NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer. The crew won’t arrive at the ISS until tomorrow evening (it’s a 22-hour trip), so they’ll likely make good use of SpaceX’s upgraded toilet. The crew will remain at the ISS for a six-month science mission.
Crew-3 will be SpaceX’s third operational commercial crew mission for NASA and its fifth human spaceflight mission overall, the additional two being the inaugural Crew Dragon Demo-1 mission and the private Inspiration4 mission. Putting people into space is something that SpaceX is now doing on the regular.
Once at the ISS, the Crew-3 crew will join Expedition 66, already in progress. Waiting for them at the hatch will be Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov and NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei. Endurance will arrive at the ISS on Thursday, November 11 at 7:10 p.m., with the hatch opening at 8:45 p.m. ET.
Crew-2, consisting of NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA’s Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA’s Thomas Pesquet, splashed down off the coast of Florida on Monday night. It was a rare case in which ISS crew members went home prior to the arrival of their replacements—a scheduling quirk caused by the delayed launch of Crew-3.
Earlier today, flight controllers successfully repositioned the ISS to a higher altitude to prevent a potential collision with space junk. NASA says the unscheduled procedure will have no bearing on the launch of Crew-3 or its arrival at the ISS.