NASA announces rare health-related SpaceX launch delay

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The launch, which was scheduled for Wednesday, has now been rescheduled for Saturday night.

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NASA has announced a rare, health-related delay in the SpaceX rocket launch of four astronauts, the second postponement of the mission in a week, citing an unspecified medical problem with one of the crew.

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NASA said Monday that the issue is “not a medical emergency nor related to COVID-19,” but the space agency declined to elaborate on the nature of the problem or say what space it involves. The passenger was involved.

The launch, originally scheduled for Sunday but postponed until this Wednesday due to inclement weather conditions, has now been rescheduled for Saturday night, NASA said.

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The last time NASA delayed a scheduled launch over a medical issue involving a crew was in 1990 when mission commander John Creighton for a Space Shuttle Atlantis flight fell ill. According to NASA, the countdown was put on hold for three days until they were cleared to fly.

That delay was followed by two additional meteorological postponements.

six month mission

The SpaceX-built vehicle set to fly this weekend, including the Crew Dragon capsule atop a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket, is now 11:36 a.m. Saturday (03:36 GMT on Sunday) from NASA’s Kennedy Space ready for liftoff. Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

If all goes smoothly, the three American astronauts and their European Space Agency (ESA) companions will arrive 22 hours later and 250 miles (400 km) from Earth to begin a six-month science mission aboard the orbiting laboratory. Will dock with the space station above. ,

For the time being, four of the crew members will remain in routine quarantine at the Cape as they continue to prepare for the launch, NASA said.

Joining three NASA astronauts on the mission — Flight Commander Raja Chari, 44, Mission Pilot Tom Marshburn, 61, and Mission Specialist Kayla Barone, 34 — are German astronaut Mathias Maurer, 51, an ESA mission specialist.

Chari, a US Air Force fighter jet and test pilot, Barron, a US Navy submarine officer and nuclear engineer, and Maurer, a materials science engineer, are all making their first space flight aboard a Dragon vehicle, called Endurance.

Marshburn, a physician and former NASA flight surgeon, is the most experienced astronaut on the crew, having entered the last two space flights and four spacewalks.

Saturday’s liftoff, if successful, will count as the fifth manned spaceflight SpaceX has achieved since the inauguration of a space tourism service in September that sent all civilian crew to orbit for the first time.

The latest mission will mark the fourth crew NASA has flown to the space station with SpaceX in 17 months, based on a public-private partnership with the rocket company formed by Musk, the founder of electric maker Tesla Inc., in 2002.

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