NASA SpaceX Crew-1 crew members aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft during training. From left to right: NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Oliver and Mike Hopkins, and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi.
NASA and SpaceX plan to begin the company’s first full mission with astronauts no earlier than October 23, the agency announced on Friday.
Known as Crew-1, the mission will see three American astronauts and a Japanese astronaut released into a Dragon Crew capsule at the International Space Station. There they will spend six months on the space station, conducting research and performing tasks.
The Dragon Crew capsule will feature NASA’s Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and JAXA’s Soichi Noguchi. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that will remove the capsule arrived in Florida in July, to prepare for the launch of Crew-1.
NASA and SpaceX had previously planned to launch Crew-1 in late September. The one-month delay is due to “ship traffic,” NASA said after a Russian Soyuz spacecraft was scheduled to land on the ISS in October. The agency also said the delay behind the launch of Crew-1 would allow “a transfer of crew” aboard the space station. The six-month timeframe for Crew-1 means the capsule will be deployed by the end of April, overlapping with the SpaceX Crew-2 mission set to begin in the spring of 2021.
Demo-2 reviews continue
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endeavor spacecraft is sprayed in the Gulf of Mexico with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board on August 2, 2020.
The announcement comes about two weeks after the successful completion of the SpaceX Demo-2 test flight, which carried a pair of NASA astronauts on the company’s first mission ever upset. Both organizations are currently reviewing data from the Demo-2 mission. Assuming no major issues have been found, NASA will then certify the SpaceX rocket and capsule system to regularly fly astronauts to the ISS.
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