Early Friday morning, a previously-flown Falcon 9 rocket will liftoff at 5:49 a.m. EDT from Launch Complex-39A at the Kennedy Space Center, carrying four astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard Crew Dragon as part of SpaceX’s second operational mission (Crew-2) under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. “Crew-2 mission is a mission to the International Space Station we’re going to launch from Florida on a U.S. developed spacecraft that is called ‘Crew Dragon’ and its going to take us to the Space Station for six months,” European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet said in a 'Crew-2 Mission Overview' video released by NASA today, linked below. Pesquet will serve as mission specialist, he shared that Crew-2 teammates will conduct a wide range of scientific experiments during their six-month stay. We’re just going to do a bunch of research and science that’s gonna’ benefit all of humanity or its gonna’ help us with future exploration. So, that’s exciting! To be part of something that is that grand,” NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, Crew-2 Commander said. He also shared that they will perform a set of spacewalks –“That will be some great days out there!”
Four NASA's SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts will launch into space Friday & arrive Saturday at the @Space_Station, where they'll spend their time conducting science & @ISS_Research not possible on Earth.— NASA (@NASA) April 23, 2021
🚀 Find out what makes science in space so exciting: https://t.co/EOeXZrBQfd pic.twitter.com/Hb141js2Gh
Crew-2 astronauts will ride a previously-flown spacecraft for the first time. “I love this capsule we are riding on! It was named ‘Endeavour’… It has a special meaning to me,” Kimbrough said. Endeavour previously transported Robert ‘Bob’ Behnken and Douglas Hurley to ISS during SpaceX’s first crewed mission in 2020. –“I flew on the Space Shuttle Endeavour so I am very excited to fly on another spacecraft called ‘Endeavour’,” Kimbrough said, “Even more significant for Megan, because she is going to fly in the same seat that her husband Bob (Robert Behnken) flew in,” he shared. “Its amazing to think that I will be seating in the same seat that Bob was seating in when he certified that vehicle the very first time that it launched,” NASA astronaut Megan McArthur said. “When I was assigned to the Crew-2 mission I didn’t realize It was going to be the same vehicle but that certainly adds a little something special to the mission,” she added. McArthur also mentioned that training to serve as pilot of the Crew Dragon spacecraft is different than the Space Shuttle –“The vehicles have a lot of differences…with the Space Shuttles built in the 1970s we had a lot of switches like panels and panels of switches,” she said, “with Crew Dragon… we don’t have those panels… we have a very clean wall environment and some large touchscreens.”
Four astronauts are set to launch aboard their Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft tomorrow morning at 5:49 a.m. ET! 🚀🐉— NASA's Kennedy Space Center (@NASAKennedy) April 22, 2021
Be sure to tune in starting at 1:30 a.m. ET on April 23 for live coverage. Let’s #LaunchAmerica: https://t.co/1XQVlkaW6V pic.twitter.com/43e86smAab
Crew Dragon Endeavour is scheduled to dock autonomously to ISS’s Harmony module on Sunday, April 24 at around 5:10 a.m. EDT. Upon arrival, Crew-2 will be greeted by Crew-1 astronauts who have been working on scientific research at the orbiting lab for six months. It will be the first time two NASA Commercial Crews are together and that a pair of Crew Dragon spacecraft are docked simultaneously to the Space Station’s Harmony module. It will also be the first mission that features a crew representing three nationalities, European, Japanese, and American. “It is very important to do international cooperation,” Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut said. “…We have these big dreams where we look out to the horizon and this desire to explore the universe around us and we’re always going to be more successful when we work together with our international partners to achieve these incredible dreams,” McArthur said. Crew-1 NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi are scheduled to return to Earth on Wednesday, April 28 at 7:05 a.m EDT. You can watch all events Live in the video below, courtesy of NASA. Coverage of Crew-2 launch preparations and liftoff will begin at 1:30 a.m. EDT Friday, April 23.
CREW-2 ASTRONAUTS MISSION OVERVIEW
WATCH CREW-2 LIFTOFF LIVE! (NASA TV schedule is listed below.)
NASA TV SCHEDULE (Eastern Time)
April 23, Friday
1:30 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 5:49 a.m. EDT) – Kennedy Space Center/Johnson Space Center/Hawthorne, Calif.
7:30 a.m. – SpaceX Crew Dragon Crew-2 post-launch news conference (time subject to change)
April 24, Saturday
Continuous coverage of the SpaceX Crew Dragon Crew-2 mission through docking, hatch opening and the welcoming ceremony (docking on April 24 scheduled at 5:10 a.m. EDT; hatch opening scheduled at 7:15 a.m. EDT; welcoming ceremony scheduled at 7:45 a.m. EDT) – Kennedy Space Center/Johnson Space Center/Hawthorne, California
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)
April 27, Tuesday
1:25 p.m. – International Space Station Expedition 65 Change of Command Ceremony (Shannon Walker hands off space station command to Aki Hoshide) and Crew-1 farewell remarks (Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Soichi Noguchi, Shannon Walker)
April 28, Wednesday
TBD – Coverage of the undocking of the SpaceX Crew Dragon “Resilience” from the Harmony zenith port at the International Space Station and splashdown (Hopkins, Glover, Noguchi, Walker; undocking scheduled at 7:05 a.m. EDT, splashdown scheduled at 12:40 p.m. EDT) – Johnson Space Center/Hawthorne, California.
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.