SpaceX’s third NASA crewed mission to the International Space Station, dubbed Crew-3, has been unexpectedly delayed for at least a week due to weather and a “minor medical issue” with one of the crew members.
As the crew wait at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida this week for the rescheduled launch, one astronaut, European Space Agency’s Matthias Maurer, of Germany, has been doing his share of protecting the environment by picking up beach trash near the launch site.
“I’ve been relaxing during my quarantine by collecting rubbish on the beach,” Maurer tweeted on Monday and posted a picture of him standing next to a stuffed trash bag on a beach.
“Sadly, this is not the only bag I filled,” he said in the tweet. “We really need to think about our environmental impact on Earth and in space. Clean oceans, clean space! It’s up to all of us.”
Crew-3 is Maurer’s first space mission on behalf of the ESA, codenamed “Cosmic Kiss.” “It communicates the special connection the Station provides between Earth’s inhabitants and the cosmos,” Maurer said of the mission name in a 2020 ESA blog post. “It also conveys the value of partnership in exploring farther to the Moon and Mars, alongside the need to respect, protect and preserve the nature of our home planet as we seek a sustainable future on Earth.”
The Crew-3 mission was originally scheduled to launch on October 31. It was first pushed back to November 3 due to a large storm system forming above the Atlantic Ocean near the Florida coast. The launch was further delayed due to a “minor medical issue” with one of the crew members, NASA said on Monday. The agency didn’t disclose what the medical issue was, but said it was not related to COVID-19.
NASA is now aiming Saturday, November 6, as the earliest launch date. The flight will send four astronauts to the ISS for a six-month research mission in the orbital lab. Maurer will fly along with three NASA astronauts: Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron.
Crew-3 is SpaceX’s third operational flight under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The private space company’s Falcon 9-Crew Dragon launch system have successfully flown 10 astronauts (through a test flight and two operational missions) to the ISS since May 2020.