NASA and SpaceX are preparing to launch the next crew of astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). The mission, known as Crew-1, will be the second crewed flight launched from American soil in nearly a decade. A Falcon 9 rocket will carry four astronauts aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft. It will lift off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Crew-1 will be SpaceX's first operational mission featuring an international crew, three NASA Astronauts 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. They are expected to stay 6 months at the orbiting laboratory where they will be working on ISS maintenance and conducting scientific experiments in microgravity.
The mission was previously scheduled to launch on October 31st, but rocket issues in a non-NASA launch caused the agency to delay the launch to give SpaceX engineers time to ensure the Falcon 9 rocket is working at optimal level. NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate Kathy Lueders announced they postponed the mission until November -- "The extra time will allow SpaceX to resolve an unexpected observation during a recent non-NASA launch attempt," Lueders stated on October 10. Ms. Lueders recently provided an update on the situation, she said on October 21st they are making "a lot of good progress with SpaceX on engine testing," and that SpaceX opted to replace one out of nine Merlin 1D engines of the Falcon 9 rocket that will launch the Crew-1 astronauts.
This week, NASA announced the new target date of SpaceX's second astronaut launch to the space station. --"NASA and SpaceX now are targeting 7:49 p.m. EST Saturday, November 14, for the launch of the first crew rotation mission to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program," representatives wrote in a press release.
Mission managers of the Crew-1 mission will hold a teleconference on October 28 to provide more details about the upcoming launch. The agency says they will also discuss the "results from recent testing of the Falcon 9 Merlin engines following unexpected data SpaceX noted during a recent non-NASA launch." You can listen to the telephone conference Live in the video below, starting at 4:00 p.m. EDT. on Wednesday.
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.