Featured Image Source: NASA
SpaceX returned human spaceflight capabilities to the United States this year, NASA had not launched astronauts from American soil in nearly a decade. The first crewed flight, referred to as Demo-2, the demonstration test flight launched NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft, which propelled into orbit atop a Falcon 9 rocket. Paving the way towards operational missions to the orbiting laboratory. The Demo-2 mission is scheduled to come to an end soon; the brave astronaut duo will return aboard the spacecraft on August 2nd.
SpaceX’s next mission, Crew-1, will be their first operational flight which will deploy four astronauts to orbit in September this year. To meet the Crew-1 astronauts read the article linked below.
Today, July 28, the agency announced the astronauts that will conduct the second operational mission, referred as Crew-2, have been selected and are already training. Crew-2 will be SpaceX’s third crewed mission to the space station scheduled to launch in spring 2021. The members of the SpaceX Crew-2 mission to the space station are: NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet.
Astronauts will continue to launch to space from U.S. soil!— NASA (@NASA) July 28, 2020
Today, we named crew members to @SpaceX's 2nd operational Crew Dragon flight:
🚀 Megan McArthur of @NASA_Astronauts
🚀 @Aki_Hoshide of @JAXA_en
🚀 @Thom_astro of @ESA
Info: https://t.co/DsBanB0l0o pic.twitter.com/sVOd77ERoj
“The Crew-2 astronauts will remain aboard the space station for approximately six months as expedition crew members, along with three crewmates who will launch via a Russian Soyuz spacecraft,” the agency wrote in a press release. “The increase of the full space station crew complement to seven members – over the previous six – will allow NASA to effectively double the amount of science that can be conducted in space.”
ESA Astronaut Pesquet revealed he has been training for the mission aboard Crew Dragon. He shared photographs via Twitter of him training on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon simulator which involves learning how to control the spacecraft’s functions via a trio of touchscreen displays, pictured below. Pesquet is a veteran astronaut he has spent 196 days in space. “Looks like I’ll be the first European to ever ride a Dragon into space!” Pesquet shared his excitement, “Training has already started at SpaceX futuristic facilities. Stay tuned for more updates…and wait, how do you install the launch app on these giant tablet-screens?” he joked.
Looks like I'll be the first European to ever ride a Dragon into space! Training has already started at SpaceX's futuristic facilities. Stay tuned for more updates... and wait, how do you install the "launch" app on these giant tablet-screens? 😅😉🙃 pic.twitter.com/wD7zOf7EAl— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) July 28, 2020
The Crew-2 mission will be NASA Astronaut Kimbrough’s third trip to space. “He has spent a total of 189 days in space, and performed six spacewalks. Kimbrough also is a retired U.S. Army colonel,” the agency noted. NASA Astronaut McArthur will be making her second trip to space. “McArthur operated the shuttle’s robotic arm over the course of the 12 days and 21 hours she spent in space, capturing the [Hubble] telescope and moving crew members during the five spacewalks needed to repair and upgrade it.” She shared a photograph of her training at SpaceX headquarters in California – “At SpaceX this week for training with Astronaut Kimbrough, learning how to fly the Dragon,” she said.
JAXA Astronaut Hoshide’s is also training for the Crew-2 mission, he travelled from Japan to join the diverse crew. – “I’m looking forward to it, including training with my fellow passengers!” he wrote in Japanese via Twitter. Hoshide is a veteran astronaut with experience riding on different spacecrafts, including NASA’s Space Shuttle and Russia’s Soyuz. He has spent a total of 124-days in space.
搭乗機が決まりました。野口飛行士に続き、SpaceX社のクルードラゴンでISSに向かいます。スペースシャトル、ソユーズに続き3機目。一緒に搭乗する仲間との訓練も含めて、楽しみ！ https://t.co/Nj41XXbgEj— 星出 彰彦 (JAXA宇宙飛行士) (@Aki_Hoshide) July 28, 2020