SpaceX-powered trip to ISS grounded by 'medical issue'

It's not COVID-19 and it's not an emergency, insists NASA

Four astronauts will not begin their journey to the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday as planned after NASA revealed an unspecified medical problem with the crew.

Their launch was scheduled for Sunday, October 31 from the Florida coast, and postponed due to unfavorable weather until Wednesday. The next open opportunity to get their SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and human-ferrying Crew Dragon spacecraft out of the atmosphere is Saturday at 2336 US Eastern Time (0336 UTC).

NASA tweeted, and SpaceX retweeted:

NASA wants you to know that it's not related to COVID-19. It’s just a minor medical issue involving a crew member, so don't panic, OK?

Even a cold is bad in space – you don't want to sneeze in one of those helmets. Gross. The crew, which consists of three NASA astronauts and an ESA 'naut, will remain in quarantine at Kennedy Space Center until the launch goes off.

The mission, when successful, will be the third time the SpaceX Crew Dragon has rotated astronauts in and out of the ISS, earning the flight the name Crew 3. It is set to be the fourth time the spacecraft has flown with people aboard as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, which works with the US aerospace industry to accomplish crewed missions. SpaceX and Boeing were both chosen in 2014 to ferry up to four crew members at a time back and forth between our planet and the orbiting space station, which typically maintains a crew of seven.

The four astronauts scheduled to return to Earth – two from NASA, one from Japan's JAXA, and one from ESA – will just have to sit in their tin can far above the world a few more days before coming home. ®

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