Minor astronaut medical issue pushes Crew-3 launch again

Falcon 9 launch with four astronauts to the International Space Station now no earlier than Nov. 6 at 11:36 p.m.

The launch of American and European astronauts to the International Space Station for the Crew-3 mission has been pushed back for a second time this week due to a "minor medical issue" with one of the crew members, NASA announced.

SpaceX was set to launch NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer early Sunday from Kennedy Space Center, but due to the poor weather along the spacecraft's ascent path, mission managers delayed the launch to Wednesday. 

In an update Monday, NASA said the launch has again been delayed. The next launch opportunity is 11:36 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6. However, the agency continues to "monitor crew health as they evaluate potential launch" times.

The astronauts have been in quarantine since they arrived at Kennedy Space Center last week. The space agency did not disclose which astronaut or the medical problem but did say it did not involve the coronavirus.

"NASA is delaying the upcoming launch of the agency's SpaceX Crew-3 mission due to a minor medical issue involving one of its crew members," the agency wrote. "The issue is not a medical emergency and not related to COVID-19."

Crew-3 will mark the third long-duration mission crew launching with SpaceX as part of NASA's commercial crew program and the fourth overall since August 2020.

When the astronauts arrive at the space station, they will spend six months onboard the orbiting laboratory conducting research and science in microgravity.

Four astronauts on the station who arrived via another SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on the Crew-2 mission are set to return home soon. NASA says it's still determining dates for a splashdown return off Florida's coast.