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'Minor medical issue' delays SpaceX astronaut launch again

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'Minor medical issue' delays SpaceX astronaut launch again
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule are prepared for launch at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo courtesy of SpaceX | License Photo

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 1 (UPI) -- NASA has postponed the SpaceX Crew-3 astronaut launch from Florida for a second time, to Saturday from Wednesday, because of a "minor medical issue" with one of the astronauts, the agency said Monday.

Elon Musk's SpaceX now plans to launch the mission at 11:36 p.m. EDT Saturday. The Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule Endurance are prepared for liftoff from Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center.

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SpaceX and NASA previously postponed the launch for three days because of concerns that rough weather in the Atlantic Ocean would jeopardize a landing of the capsule at sea in the event of an emergency abort.

The NASA astronauts are commander Raja Chari, 44, mission specialist Kayla Barron, 34, and Thomas Marshburn, 61. German astronaut Matthias Maurer, 51, is also a mission specialist. Chari, Barron and Maurer are making their first trip to space.

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NASA, which does not reveal personal health information about astronauts, did not explain the medical issue. Astronauts sometimes post messages on social media explaining such details.

In the meantime, the crew has been quarantined in Florida for an extended period as the launch is delayed. Such quarantines were standard procedure even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Maurer said on Twitter that he's spent some quarantine time cleaning up beaches near the space center. His tweet came with a photo of him on the beach in a T-shirt and shorts with a bag of trash.

"I've been relaxing during my quarantine by collecting rubbish on the beach. Sadly, this is not the only bag I filled. We really need to think about our environmental impact on Earth and in space. Clean oceans, clean space! It's up to all of us," he tweeted.

The crew is to spend six months in orbit before returning with a splashdown off the coast of Florida.

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From left to right, European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide are seen inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft onboard the SpaceX GO Navigator recovery ship shortly after having landed in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola, Fla., on November 8. Photo by Aubrey Gemignani/NASA | License Photo

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