SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts are ready for liftoff on Thursday, April 22 at 6:11 a.m. EDT. It will be SpaceX’s second operational flight (Crew-2) under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Early this morning, Crew-2 NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, participated in a dress rehearsal of launch day activities. During the rehearsal, the quartet put on their sleek SpaceX spacesuits inside the Astronaut Crew Quarters inside Kennedy’s Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building.
All Images Source: NASA & SpaceX
SpaceX designed the form-fitting pressure suits with comfort in mind. The sleek black and white suit is maneuverable unlike NASA's Space Shuttle’s bulky orange suits. Each SpaceX suit is tailored and customized for each astronaut wearing it. The spacesuits are very stylish with flags and logos of NASA, JAXA, ESA and SpaceX denoting the partnership. The suit is meant to provide a pressurized environment for all crew members aboard the Dragon capsule, in case of an unlikely emergency such as cabin depressurization. SpaceX's slip-on, one-piece suit features a single connection point between the suit and vehicle, a communications system to communicate with each other and the craft, as well as hearing protection which will protect astronaut's ears during the rocket launch ascent and spacecraft reentry. It also has two internal layers, a flame-resistant outer layer and an inner cooling system. The space helmet is 3D printed with solar radiation protection. The boots feature heel sliders which help to secure feet to footrests. The gloves are flexible and specifically designed to be compatible with touchscreen devices. Crew Dragon's control and pilot system consists of a trio of touchscreen displays.
After suiting-up, the agency shared that Crew-2 astronauts “took the elevator down to the ground level and exited through a pair of double doors, where Tesla Model Xs waited to transport them to the launch pad. With smiles and waves, they climbed in for the 20-minute ride to Launch Complex 39A,” NASA wrote in a press release. The astronauts practiced launch day countdown operations atop the Falcon 9 rocket at the launchpad. They rode up Pad-39A’s elevator to the Crew Access Arm, which leads to the Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft’s hatch. Once inside the capsule, the crew “checked their communications systems before the hatch was closed. The rehearsal concluded about 45 minutes prior to the scheduled launch time,” the agency shared.
During today’s rehearsal, the astronauts also took a moment to chat with the media. “It's awesome to be here at Kennedy Space Center,” Kimbrough, the Crew-2 mission commander told reporters, “We've had some training already this morning, yesterday we got to go out to the pad to see the rocket and our spacecraft, which is really exciting for us.”
“It's great to be here! We're excited and ready to launch!” McArthur, Crew-2 Pilot, added. “I just want to take a moment to thank the people that get us here, that get us ready, and that get all of this ready to make it happen. It's a huge number of people, including our families, of course, sacrificing along the way as we prepare,” she said, “And I just really want to take every opportunity to say thank you, because we know how much work it takes and we really appreciate that.”
The astronauts will liftoff on Earth Day, April 22nd, ESA Astronaut Pesquet told reporters – “It means a lot to us [to launch on Earth day] because we all individually care about the Earth, but also because our agencies are at the forefront of the fight to protect the environment,” he said. “It's only by going into space that we've been able to take a step back and really measure all the variables that enable scientists to determine what's happening to the planet,” Pesquet added. You can watch all events leading to Crew-2 launch day in the video below, courtesy of NASA TV. Schedule is in Eastern Time (EDT).
WATCH IT LIVE!
NASA TV SCHEDULE (Eastern Time)
April 20, Tuesday
7 a.m. – International Space Station Expedition 65 in-flight event for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency with JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi (Public Channel with English interpretation; Media Channel in native language)
TBD – SpaceX Crew Dragon Crew-2 prelaunch news conference following the Launch Readiness Review
April 21, Wednesday
3:15 - 4:15 p.m. – News Conference with International Space Station Expedition 64 astronaut Kate Rubins of NASA
10 a.m. – NASA Administrator Countdown Clock Briefing for the SpaceX Crew Dragon Crew-2 mission
April 22, Thursday
2 a.m. – Coverage of the launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon “Endeavour” to the International Space Station and continuous coverage through docking (Kimbrough, McArthur, Hoshide, Pesquet; launch scheduled at 6:11 a.m. EDT) – Kennedy Space Center/Johnson Space Center/Hawthorne, Calif.
7:30 a.m. – SpaceX Crew Dragon Crew-2 postlaunch news conference
11 a.m. – International Space Station Expedition 65 in-flight event for Earth Day with NASA Space Station Commander Shannon Walker, NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi (All Channels)
3 p.m. -- NASA Science Live: Connected by Earth
Note: Crew-2 coverage continues on Media Channel
April 23, Friday
Continuous Coverage of the SpaceX Crew Dragon Crew-2 mission through docking, hatch opening and the welcoming ceremony (docking on April 23 scheduled at 5:30 a.m. EDT; hatch opening scheduled at 7:35 a.m. EDT; welcoming ceremony scheduled at 8:05 a.m. EDT) – Kennedy Space Center/Johnson Space Center/Hawthorne, Calif.
April 26, Monday
7 a.m. – International Space Station Expedition 65 in-flight event for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) with JAXA astronauts Soichi Noguchi and Aki Hoshide and Japanese media (Public channel with English interpretation, Media Channel in native language)
12:30 p.m. – International Space Station Expedition 65 SpaceX Crew-1 Crew pre-departure news conference (Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Soichi Noguchi, Shannon Walker)
LIVE NOW: Meet the Crew-2 astronauts headed to the @Space_Station on the @SpaceX Crew Dragon on April 22:— NASA (@NASA) April 17, 2021
🧑🚀@Astro_Kimbrough of @NASA_Astronauts
👩🚀@Astro_Megan of @NASA_Astronauts
🧑🚀@Aki_Hoshide of @JAXA_en
🧑🚀@Thom_Astro of @ESA https://t.co/gwCaKf9WNi
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.