SpaceX, the aerospace company founded by Elon Musk, returned human spaceflight capabilities to the United States last year. In May 2020, SpaceX launched the first pair of NASA astronauts atop a Falcon 9 rocket aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) during the Demo-2 mission. It was the first manned mission launched from American soil in nearly a decade. By November 2020, SpaceX performed its second crewed flight. The mission is still ongoing, it is the first operational mission (Crew-1) for NASA under the Commercial Crew Program. Crew-1 is expected to return to Earth by Fall.
Today, January 29, NASA announced SpaceX will launch its third crew of astronauts to space this year. The mission, known as Crew-2, will be SpaceX’s second operational flight to the orbiting laboratory under the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. The Crew-2 mission will deploy an international crew of four astronauts: NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet. The crewmembers are already undergoing training for the mission that is currently scheduled for no earlier than (NET) Tuesday, April 20.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission will launch the four astronauts aboard Crew Dragon from Launch Complex-39A at the Kennedy Space Center. The Crew-2 astronauts will dock to the Station while the previous crew is still in orbit working at the ISS Lab. “Crew-2 also is expected to arrive at the space station to overlap with the astronauts that flew to the station as part of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission,” the agency shared in a press release today, “Return of Crew-1 with NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, along with JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, is currently scheduled for late April or early May. Crew-2 astronauts are set to return in fall 2021. NASA and SpaceX also continue preparations for the launch of the agency’s Crew-3 mission, which currently is targeted for fall of this year,” the agency stated.
All Images Source: NASA & SpaceX
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.