SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts launched to the International Space Station (ISS) atop a Falcon 9 rocket, aboard the twice flown Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft on April 23. It is SpaceX’s third crewed flight and second operational mission of six that are planned as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The program selected SpaceX and Boeing to conduct frequent astronaut flights launched from American soil. Boeing is getting ready to test its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft to certify that it is ready to carry astronauts, the company will launch the second uncrewed test flight to ISS by the end of July.
SpaceX Crew-2 will relocate Crew Dragon to welcome the Boeing Starliner vehicle at the Space Station’s Harmony module. NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, will hop aboard Crew Dragon to relocate Endeavour “on Wednesday, July 21, setting the stage for a historic first when two different U.S. commercial spacecraft built for crew will be docked to the microgravity laboratory at the same time,” the agency announced. The operation will broadcast Live at 6:30 a.m. EDT on NASA Television, linked in the video below. Crew-2 will undock Crew Dragon Endeavour from ISS’s forward port at around 4:30 a.m. EDT. By 7:32 a.m., the spacecraft is expected to autonomously maneuver to the neighboring space-facing docking port.
“The relocation will free up Harmony’s forward port for the docking of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, scheduled for launch Friday, July 30, as part of NASA’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission,” NASA said in a press release, “The flight will test the end-to-end capabilities of Starliner from launch to docking, atmospheric re-entry, and a desert landing in the western United States. The uncrewed mission will provide valuable data about Boeing’s crew transportation system, and help NASA certify Starliner and the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket for regular flights with astronauts to and from the space station.” Boeing’s Starliner will also carry more than 400 pounds of NASA cargo to the orbiting laboratory. Once docked, astronauts will load the CST-100 capsule with a bit over 500 pounds of cargo to return to Earth.
🚀 A @Commercial_Crew spacecraft is launching to the @Space_Station on July 30!— NASA (@NASA) July 16, 2021
How to watch NASA TV coverage of the second uncrewed flight of @BoeingSpace's #Starliner & join our global, virtual @NASASocial: https://t.co/PldeZu04zW pic.twitter.com/GaquiBuuAA
WATCH IT LIVE!
Featured Image Source: NASA / Boeing
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.