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SpaceX announced this morning it is ready to launch its third crewed flight and second operational mission (Crew-2) under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to the International Space Station (ISS). Crew-2 is scheduled to liftoff on Thursday, April 22 at 6:11 a.m. EDT from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. –“Falcon 9 and Dragon are looking good for flight of Crew-2 astronauts; teams are keeping an eye on launch site and downrange weather,” SpaceX announced and shared a video of the rocket at the launchpad, shown below. This crewed flight will be the first to use a previously-flown booster, identified as B1061-2, which launched SpaceX's Crew-1 mission to the space station in November last year. Crew-1 is still at the station, they are scheduled to return until April 28. The rocket features NASA's red worm logo and is filled with black scorch marks from reentering Earth’s atmosphere once before. The upcoming flight will also reuse the Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft that launched SpaceX's first crewed flight during the Demo-2 mission in 2020. It will be the first reuse of a privately developed spacecraft certified for human flight.
The United States Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron forecasts an 80% chance of favorable weather conditions for launch. “The primary weather concerns for the launch area will be liftoff winds. Teams also are monitoring weather conditions downrange for the flight of Crew Dragon,” the agency shared in a press release. SpaceX also requires favorable ocean conditions where Falcon 9 rocket's first-stage booster lands atop an autonomous droneship approximately 633-kilometers downrange in the Atlantic Ocean. Recovering rockets enables the company to reuse on future missions. “We’re ‘go’ for launch,” said Steve Stich, manager of the Commercial Crew Program at Kennedy Space Center. “Both Thursday and Friday launch weather looks good, with concern of winds around the pad for Thursday. Downrange weather is trickier as the front and the winds combine to create winds and waves. Friday looks better than Thursday, but we’ll continue to watch; we have another briefing tomorrow and will decide when the right time to make a decision is.”
Falcon 9 and Dragon are looking good for flight of Crew-2 astronauts; teams are keeping an eye on launch site and downrange weather pic.twitter.com/IGi20gD7dP— SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 20, 2021
The Crew-2 mission will be led by NASA Commander Shane Kimbrough, who will fly aboard Crew Dragon spacecraft to ISS, along with NASA astronaut Megan McArthur who will serve as pilot, mission specialist Akihiko Hoshide of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet of France. They completed a dress rehearsal over the weekend, during which they donned their spacesuits and practiced all launch day tasks to ensure their readiness. The crew is expected to arrive at the orbiting laboratory by Friday, April 23, Crew Dragon Endeavour is scheduled to dock to the Space Station’s Harmony module at approximately 5:30 a.m. EDT. NASA will broadcast the Crew-2 mission Live in the video below. On Wednesday, April 21, acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk will participate in a briefing at the Countdown Clock at Kennedy Space Center’s News Center at 8:30 a.m. EDT. NASA TV coverage of Crew-2 launch preparations and liftoff will begin at 2:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday, April 22.
WATCH IT LIVE!
SPACEX CREW-2 MISSION BADGE
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.