SpaceX Crew-3 Launch To International Space Station Set Oct. 31 From Kennedy Space Center
By NASA // October 18, 2021
crew will complete a six-month science mission aboard the microgravity laboratory
BREVARD COUNTY • KENNEDY SPACE CENTER – The third SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket that will carry astronauts to the International Space Station for a long duration mission is targeted for blastoff on Sunday, October 31, from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center.
The agency’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission will carry three NASA astronauts – mission commander Raja Chari, pilot Tom Marshburn, and mission specialist Kayla Barron to the space station – as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, who will serve as a mission specialist.
This is the first spaceflight for Chari, Barron and Maurer. It is the third for Marshburn.
The crew will complete a six-month science mission aboard the microgravity laboratory in low-Earth orbit.
Astronauts from NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission are scheduled for return in mid-November aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour on which they launched following a short crew handover period aboard the space station.
■ Chari is commander of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and the Crew-3 mission. He is responsible for all phases of flight, from launch to re-entry. He also will serve as an Expedition 66 flight engineer aboard the station. This will be the first spaceflight for Chari, who became a NASA astronaut in 2017.
He was born in Milwaukee but considers Cedar Falls, Iowa, his hometown. He is a colonel in the U.S. Air Force and joins the mission with extensive experience as a test pilot. He has accumulated more than 2,500 hours of flight time in his career.
■ Marshburn is the pilot of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and second in command for the mission. He is responsible for spacecraft systems and performance. Once aboard the station, he will serve as an Expedition 66 flight engineer aboard the station. Marshburn is a Statesville, North Carolina, native who became an astronaut in 2004.
Prior to serving in the astronaut corps, the medical doctor served as flight surgeon at Johnson and later became medical operations lead for the International Space Station. The Crew-3 mission will be his third visit to the space station and his second long-duration mission. Marshburn previously served as a crew member of STS-127 in 2009 and Expedition 34/35, which concluded in 2013.
■ Barron is a mission specialist for Crew-3. As a mission specialist, she will work closely with the commander and pilot to monitor the spacecraft during the dynamic launch and re-entry phases of flight. Once aboard the station, she will become a flight engineer for Expedition 66. Barron was born in Pocatello, Idaho, but considers Richland, Washington, her hometown.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, in 2010. She earned a master’s degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Cambridge, in England, in 2011, as Gates Cambridge Scholar. Barron earned her submarine warfare officer qualification and deployed three times while serving aboard the USS Maine. At the time of her selection as an astronaut candidate in 2017, she was serving as the flag aide to the superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy.
■ Maurer also will serve as a mission specialist for Crew-3, working with the commander and pilot to monitor the spacecraft during the dynamic launch and re-entry phases of flight. He will become a long-duration crew member aboard the space station.
Maurer comes from Sankt Wendel, in the German state of Saarland. Like Chari, Maurer will be making his first trip to space with the Crew-3 mission. Before becoming an astronaut, Maurer held a number of engineering and research roles, both in a university setting and at ESA. In 2016, Maurer spent 16 days on an undersea mission as part of NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operations, or NEEMO, space analog.