Four Astronauts will launch aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon in September

by Evelyn Arevalo July 22, 2020

Four Astronauts will launch aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon in September

Featured Image Source: NASA / SpaceX [digital depiction]

SpaceX returned human spaceflight capabilities to the United States of America when it launched a pair of veteran NASA Astronauts atop a Falcon 9 rocket aboard the Crew Dragon spaceflight to the International Space Station (ISS) on May 30th. The historic flight of astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley marked the first time in nearly a decade -humans launched from American soil. After the successful debut crewed flight, SpaceX is preparing to launch four astronauts in late-September, according to a press release by NASA. The next mission is referred to as Crew-1, will deploy three NASA Astronauts and one JAXA astronaut, “Crew Dragon commander Michael Hopkins, pilot Victor Glover, and mission specialist Shannon Walker – all of NASA – along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) mission specialist Soichi Noguchi will launch on the Crew-1 mission from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida,” the agency stated. The Crew-1 operational mission is expected to be a longer-duration stay at the space station. Crew-1 astronauts will stay at the orbiting lab for around 6 months conducting scientific experiments. JAXA Astronaut Noguchi shared that Crew-1 is undergoing training at NASA facilities in Texas and SpaceX in California – “Most of the space training will be conducted in Los Angeles, California, [at] SpaceX headquarters. Some of the training will take place in Houston, Texas so I will be moving between those two states,” he said.

The Crew Dragon spacecraft that will ferry them to the orbiting laboratory is also undergoing preparation. “Once Demo-2 is complete, and the SpaceX and NASA teams have reviewed all the data for certification, SpaceX will launch Crew Dragon’s first six-month operational mission (Crew-1) later this year. The Crew-1 spacecraft is in production and astronaut training is well underway,” SpaceX stated. Behnken and Hurley are expected to return from space on August 2nd; it will be the first time SpaceX returns humans from space. Dragon will cross Earth’s atmosphere to conduct a parachute-assisted landing in the Atlantic Ocean near Florida’s coast, where SpaceX recovery teams will await to rescue them, marking the end of the Demo-2 mission. About a month after the astronauts return, SpaceX will conduct the Crew-1 mission. NASA announced today, July 22:

“The launch is targeted for no earlier than late-September, following a successful return from the space station and evaluation of NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley.”

 

NASA Astronauts - Mission specialist Shannon Walker, left, pilot Victor Glover, Crew Dragon commander Michael Hopkins, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) mission specialist Soichi Noguchi, right, will launch aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon Crew-1 mission. / Source: NASA / July 22.

The astronauts that will conduct the Crew-1 mission are preparing for their upcoming spaceflight amid the coronavirus outbreak, which causes COVID-19 respiratory illness. As pictured above, NASA astronauts are wearing a mask to protect each other’s health. The agency is also limiting the amount of staff that is working on-site alongside the astronauts. In today’s press release, NASA also mentioned that “Media accreditation now is open for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission,” adding – “NASA continues to monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, and a limited number of media will be granted access to Kennedy in order to protect the health and safety of media and employees. Due to COVID-19 safety restrictions at Kennedy, international media coming from overseas will need to follow quarantine requirements.”

 








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