Featured Image Source: NASA
NASA and SpaceX are preparing to launch the next crew of astronauts from American soil aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft. The mission, referred to as Crew-1, will be the second crewed flight launched from the United States in nearly a decade. SpaceX officially returned human spaceflight capabilities to the country, that was dependent on Russian spacecraft to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).
Crew-1 will be the first operational mission conducted by four astronauts. Three from NASA and one Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut. With NASA are: Crew Dragon commander Michael Hopkins, joint-commander Pilot Victor Glover, and mission specialist Shannon Walker, along with JAXA mission specialist Soichi Noguchi. Their mission is expected to be a longer duration stay at the space station. Crew-1 will make-up Expedition 64 and stay at the ISS orbiting lab for six months conducting scientific experiments in microgravity.
The mission was previously scheduled to launch on October 23. Today, NASA Human Spaceflight Administrator Kathy Lueders announced – “NEWS: We’re now targeting 2:40 am ET Saturday, October 31, for the launch of the NASA and SpaceX Crew-1 mission to send astronauts to the Space Station,” she wrote via Twitter.
The astronauts will ride SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and propel to orbit atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Pad 39A at the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. “The launch will be the first time an international crew will fly aboard a NASA-certified, commercially-owned and operated American rocket and spacecraft from American soil,” the agency stated.
NEWS: We’re now targeting 2:40am ET Saturday, Oct. 31, for the launch of the @NASA and @SpaceX Crew-1 mission to send astronauts to the @Space_Station. Here is the latest #LaunchAmerica update: https://t.co/UXtCHLq247 pic.twitter.com/szkUUQMVv1— Kathy Lueders (@KathyLueders) September 29, 2020
“The new target date will deconflict the Crew-1 launch and arrival from upcoming [Russian] Soyuz launch and landing operations. This additional time is needed to ensure closure of all open work, both on the ground and aboard the station, ahead of the Crew-1 arrival,” the agency explained in a press release, “The increased spacing also will provide a good window of opportunity to conduct additional testing to isolate the station atmosphere leak if required. SpaceX continues to make progress on preparations of the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket, and the adjusted date allows the teams additional time for completing open work ahead of launch.”
This week, NASA astronaut Victor Glover shared Crew-1 completed training. – “Crew-1 is complete with Dragon Rider training. We’ve got our license to fly! Thank you to all that made this possible. We hope to make you proud!” he said. To familiarize themselves with the Crew Dragon spacecraft, the astronauts train with an interactive simulator and touchscreen interface that is a replica of Dragon’s cockpit. Earlier this year, SpaceX released an online game that allows players to try to dock the Crew Dragon spacecraft to the Space Station, using similar controls the astronauts will use during their voyage in space. You can play the online game on SpaceX’s website: https://iss-sim.spacex.com/
Crew-1 is complete with Dragon Rider training. We’ve got our license to fly! Thank you to all that made this possible. We hope to make you proud! pic.twitter.com/HA2AYz77Bj— Victor Glover (@VicGlover) September 26, 2020
NASA and SpaceX will provide details of the upcoming crewed launch during a series of media briefings beginning at 11:00 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, September 29. You can watch the conference Live tomorrow morning in the video below.
September 29 Schedule (Eastern Time)
11 a.m. – NASA’s Commercial Crew Program News Conference with the following participants:
- NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
- Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
- Hans Koenigsmann, vice president, Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX
12:30 p.m. – Crew-1 Mission Overview News Conference with the following participants:
- Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
- Kenny Todd, deputy manager, International Space Station, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
- Anthony Vareha, NASA flight director, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
- Benji Reed, senior director, Human Spaceflight Programs, SpaceX
- Junichi Sakai, manager, International Space Station, JAXA
2 p.m. – Crew News Conference with the following participants:
- Astronaut Michael Hopkins, spacecraft commander, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission
- Astronaut Victor Glover, pilot, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission
- Astronaut Shannon Walker, mission specialist, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission
- Astronaut Soichi Noguchi, mission specialist, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission
3:30 p.m. – Round Robin Crew Interviews
- Crew-1 astronauts will be available for a limited number of remote interviews following the news conference
WATCH IT LIVE!
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.