Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Meet NASA’s Crew-3, Ready for Halloween Launch to ISS

A new group of astronauts will soon be journeying to the International Space Station (ISS) to join the crew there, and they’ll be traveling aboard a brand-new SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.

The team, known as Crew-3, consists of NASA’s Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, plus European Space Agency’s Matthias Maurer. And in a news conference this week, the four crew members talked about their excitement for the upcoming mission which will be launching on Saturday, October 30 from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The official crew portrait of the SpaceX Crew-3 mission: (from left) Commander Raja Chari and pilot Thomas Mashburn, both NASA astronauts. Mission specialist Matthias Maurer of ESA (European Space Agency). Mission specialist Kayla Barron of NASA. NASA

The crew will be traveling on a SpaceX Crew Dragon, in the third operational mission of this craft for NASA. During the conference, mission commander Raja Chari announced that they had chosen a name for their vehicle.

“We can stop calling it Capsule 210, which is the serial number for our SpaceX Dragon,” Chari said, “and let people know the crew has come up with the name of the vehicle, which is Endurance.

“It speaks to us on a number of levels: First off, as a tribute to the tenacity of the human spirit as we push humans and machines farther than we ever have, going both to stay in extended low Earth orbit and opening it up to private companies and private astronauts, and knowing that we’ll continue our exploration to go even further. And also as a nod to the fact that development teams, the production teams, and the training teams that got us here have endured through a pandemic.”

Chari also mentioned that the name was apt as the vehicle will be reused in future missions, as SpaceX capsules are designed to be reusable. “So we’ll be the first to use Endurance, but it won’t be the last time it’s used,” he said.

Other Crew Dragon craft are the Endeavour, which flew the Dragon’s first crewed test flight and is currently docked at the ISS for the Crew-2 mission, and the Resilience, which flew the Crew-1 mission for NASA and the recent private Inspiration4 mission.

“It’s hard to express adequately how excited we are as a crew,” Barron said. “We’re definitely feeling ready to launch.”

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