Indian origin astronaut in quarantine with crew before flight to ISS on Oct 31
SpaceX and NASA are ready for launching the Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on October 31. The mission will see the Crew-3 crew flying to ISS in the SpaceX Dragon vehicle, which will launch aboard the Falcon 9 rocket. The mission will be commanded by Indian origin astronaut Raja Chari along with a crew of pilot Tom Marshburn, mission specialist Kayla Barron, and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer.
The crew members have been in quarantine since October 16 as part of the standard launch procedures, which is necessary to keep the crew healthy during their space travel. However, there are now additional safeguards to ensure that astronauts onboard the ISS do not get infected by the COVID-19 virus. Chari, Mashburn, Barron and Maurer will undergo COVID tests twice before they lift off.
Indian origin astronaut Raja Chari commands the mission
Mission commander Raja Chari is of India origin and has been a US Air force Colonel. He joins the Crew-3 mission with 2,500 hours of test flight experience under his belt. Chari was born in Milwaukee but considers Cedar Falls, Iowa as his hometown.
With the Crew-3 launch on schedule, NASA is now preparing for the return of the Crew-2 mission sometime in early November. The Crew Dragon spacecraft is expected to splashdown off the coast of the Florida.
The Crew-3 members will stay onboard the ISS labs for a period of six months where they will conduct several experiments. Currently, the Crew-3 members will take over from the Crew-2 members and work briefly together along with members of the Expedition 66.
The Crew-3 mission is the third manned flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft for the crew rotation onboard the ISS. The Crew Dragon vehicle is of the capsule kind that has been designed to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS.
The Crew-3 launch is scheduled for October 31 at 11:51 IST and you can watch it live via SpaceX's official channels.