The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and SpaceX are targeting no earlier than April 20 to launch the second crew rotation mission to the International Space Station.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission will launch four astronauts aboard a Crew Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket to the ISS. “It will be the first mission to fly two international partner crew members as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program,” NASA said in an official release.
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The mission will include NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur who will serve as spacecraft commander and pilot, respectively. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet will be joining the mission as mission specialists.
The mission will lift off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. “The crew is scheduled for a long-duration stay aboard the orbiting laboratory, living and working as part of what is expected to be a seven-member crew,” NASA said.
Crew-2’s arrival at the space station is expected to overlap with the astronauts that flew to the station as part of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission.
Return of Crew-1 with NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, along with JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, is currently scheduled for late April or early May.
Crew-2 astronauts will return in fall 2021. NASA and SpaceX are also preparing for the Crew-3 mission, which is targeted for the fall of 2021, the US space agency said.