Science

SpaceX launches Falcon 9 rocket for NASA’s Halloween Crew-3 launch

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches onto the launch pad ready to launch the Crew-3 mission. (Image credit: NASA / Joel Kowsky)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, which will carry NASA’s next group of astronauts into space, has arrived on the platform. The mission, called Crew-3, is scheduled to lift off from Pad 39A here at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) at 2:21 a.m. EDT (0621 GMT) on Halloween this Sunday (October 31).

The rocket and its counterpart, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, rolled out of the hangar to the launch pad on Wednesday morning (October 27) prior to final pre-launch checks.

Perched atop its launcher, the 215-foot-tall (65-meter) vehicle, comprised of the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon spacecraft, was lifted to the vertical shortly thereafter.

Related: Crew-3 Astronauts Are Ready And Excited For The 6-Month SpaceX Mission

Live Updates: SpaceX Crew-3 Astronaut Mission

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launches for the Crew-3 launch. (Image credit: NASA / Joel Kowsky)

The four Crew-3 astronauts to be launched aboard this flight, NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn and Kayla Barron, as well as European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer, arrived at KSC Tuesday afternoon. (October 26) and they were able to check their rocket before it made the trip to the platform.

During a pre-launch talk with reporters Wednesday morning, Chari said seeing her vehicle in the hangar was a special experience.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 soars on the launch pad ahead of Crew-3. (Image credit: NASA / Joel Kowsky)

“We got to see Endurance in the hangar last night and we actually got our hands on our Dragon, so it was a very special experience,” he said. He followed these pre-launch comments with a tweet late Wednesday afternoon, confirming that the rocket was standing on the launch pad.

“It’s amazing what can be done in one day. # Crew3 reviewed #Endurance in the @SpaceX hangar last night before the platform launch and is now at @NASAKennedy on the 39th launch pad where many @NASA_Astronauts began their travels to the space, “Chari tweeted on Wednesday afternoon.

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The mission’s workhorse is a previously flown thruster, the B1067 thruster, which has a flight to date. In June, the booster propelled a different Dragon spacecraft for a cargo mission to the space station. For its second act, the newest frequent flyer in SpaceX’s fleet will be bringing this Crew Dragon, named Endurance, and his crew of astronauts.

If all goes according to plan, Endurance will dock to the orbiting lab around 12:10 am EDT (0410 GMT) on Monday (November 1), following its planned launch for Halloween.

Follow Amy Thompson on Twitter @astrogingersnap. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.

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