NASA, Boeing Update Launch Target for Next Starliner Flight Test

Boeing Starliner
Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft undergoes preparations for the company’s Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) in the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 28, 2021. Photo credit: Boeing

NASA and Boeing are targeting 2:53 pm EDT Friday, July 30, for the launch of the company’s Starliner uncrewed Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) to the International Space Station. The updated launch target is supported by the station’s visiting vehicle schedule, Starliner readiness, and the availability of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

“NASA and Boeing have done an incredible amount of work to get to this point,” said Steve Stich, Commercial Crew Program manager. “Our teams are ready for this important mission due to the coordinated efforts of many, including United Launch Alliance, NASA’s Launch Services Program, and the U.S. Space Force, which enabled us to establish this launch opportunity. We are looking forward to a successful OFT-2 mission.”

Boeing recently completed end-to-end testing of Starliner’s fight software by flying a five-day simulated OFT-2 mission to the station. The company will continue supporting NASA’s post-test reviews. All actions recommended by the NASA-Boeing Joint Independent Review Team following Starliner’s uncrewed first flight test in December 2019 are complete and pending closure by NASA.

Boeing also will continue processing hardware for its first flight of astronauts – the Crew Flight Test – until mid-summer. OFT-2 launch activities, including loading cargo and fueling the spacecraft are scheduled to begin around this time.

A launch on July 30 would lead to rendezvous and docking with the space station on the evening of Saturday, July 31.

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is working with industry through a public-private partnership to provide safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station, which will allow for additional research time and will increase the opportunity for discovery aboard humanity’s testbed for exploration. The space station remains the springboard to space exploration, including future missions to the Moon and eventually to Mars.

Crew-1 Makes Nighttime Splashdown, Ends Mission

A night-vision camera pictures the SpaceX Crew Dragon parachuting to splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico as fast boats arrive to retrieve the crew. Credit: NASA TV
A night-vision camera captures the SpaceX Crew Dragon parachuting to splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico as fast boats arrive to retrieve the crew. Credit: NASA TV

Astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) splashed down safely in the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Panama City, Florida, at 2:56 a.m. EDT after 168 days in space. The return marks the end of the first crew rotation mission to the International Space Station of the Crew Dragon spacecraft developed in partnership between NASA and SpaceX as a part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

Teams on the Go Navigator recovery ship, including two fast boats, now are in the process of securing Crew Dragon and ensuring the spacecraft is safe for the recovery effort. As the fast boat teams complete their work, the recovery ship will move into position to hoist Crew Dragon onto the main deck of Go Navigator with the astronauts inside. Once on the main deck, the crew will be taken out of the spacecraft and receive medical checks before a helicopter ride to Pensacola to board a plane for Houston.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission launched Nov. 15, 2020, on a Falcon 9 rocket from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The astronauts named the spacecraft Resilience, in honor of their families, colleagues, and fellow citizens and highlighting the dedication displayed by the teams involved with the mission and demonstrating that there is no limit to what humans can achieve when they work together. Crew Dragon Resilience docked to the Harmony module’s forward port of the space station Nov. 16, nearly 27 hours after liftoff.

Hopkins has now spent a total of 335 days in space during two spaceflights; he conducted three spacewalks during this mission for a total of five in his career. It was Glover’s first spaceflight, during which he conducted four spacewalks during the 168 days. It was Walker’s second spaceflight, bringing her total time in space to 331 days. Noguchi conducted one spacewalk, for a total of four spacewalks during his three total spaceflights; he has spent a total of 345 days in space.

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found in the press kit online and by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research  on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Crew Dragon Fires Braking Engines, Begins Earth Descent

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying four Crew-1 astronauts is pictured approaching the station on Nov. 15, 2020, for a docking.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying four Crew-1 astronauts is pictured approaching the station on Nov. 15, 2020, for a docking.

The Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on their return to Earth after a six-month science mission has completed its deorbit burn as expected ahead of splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Panama City, Florida.

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research  on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Crew-1 Astronauts in Final Hour Before Splashdown

The SpaceX Crew-1 official crew portrait with (from left) NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Soichi Noguchi.
The SpaceX Crew-1 official crew portrait with (from left) NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

Watch NASA’s live coverage as astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft are about one hour away from splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico at 2:57 a.m. EDT. Weather conditions remain within the splashdown weather criteria and are “Go” at the primary targeted site off the coast of Panama City, Florida.

Here are the upcoming milestones (all times Eastern):

All times approximate:

  • 1:57 a.m. – Crew Dragon performs claw separation. The claw is located on Crew Dragon’s trunk, connecting thermal control, power, and avionics system components located on the trunk to the capsule.
  • 1:58 a.m. – Trunk separation
  • 2:03 a.m. – Deorbit burn begins
  • 2:19 a.m. – Deorbit burn complete
  • 2:22 a.m. – Nosecone closed
  • 2:40 a.m. – Crew Dragon maneuvers to attitude for re-entry
  • 2:52 a.m. – Drogue parachutes deploy at about 18,000 feet in altitude while Crew Dragon is moving approximately 350 miles per hour.
  • 2:53 p.m. – Main parachutes deploy at about 6,000 feet in altitude while Crew Dragon is moving approximately 119 miles per hour.
  • 2:57 p.m. – Splashdown

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research  on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Crew-1 Undocks From Station and Heads for Splashdown

May 1, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are attached to the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft, and Russia's Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and ISS Progress 77 resupply ship.
May 1, 2021: International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are attached to the space station including the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft, and Russia’s Soyuz MS-18 crew ship and ISS Progress 77 resupply ship.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft with astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) inside undocked from the space-facing port of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 8:35 p.m. EDT to complete a six-month science mission.

Two very small engine burns separated Crew Dragon from the station, and the spacecraft is slowly maneuvering away from the orbital laboratory into an orbital track that will return the astronaut crew and its cargo safely to Earth.

Once flying free, Crew Dragon Resilience will autonomously execute four departure burns to move the spaceship away from the space station and begin the flight home.

The return timeline with approximate times in EDT is:

May 1

  • 8:35 p.m.             Departure burn 0
  • 8:40 p.m.             Departure burn 1
  • 9:28 p.m.             Departure burn 2
  • 10:14 p.m.           Departure burn 3

May 2

  • 1:58 a.m.             Trunk jettison
  • 2:03 a.m.             Deorbit burn begins
  • 2:57 a.m.             Crew Dragon splashdown

NASA will continue to provide live coverage until Resilience splashes down off the coast of Florida and the Crew-1 astronauts are recovered from the Gulf of Mexico.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission launched Nov. 15, 2020, on a Falcon 9 rocket from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The astronauts named the spacecraft Resilience, in honor of their families, colleagues, and fellow citizens and highlighting the dedication displayed by the teams involved with the mission and demonstrating that there is no limit to what humans can achieve when they work together. Crew Dragon Resilience docked to the Harmony module’s forward port of the space station Nov. 16, nearly 27 hours after liftoff.

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research  on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Watch NASA TV Now as Crew-1 Prepares for Departure and Splashdown

The SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience carrying four Crew-1 astronauts is pictured approaching the station on Nov. 15, 2020, for a docking.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience carrying four Crew-1 astronauts is pictured approaching the station on Nov. 15, 2020, for a docking.

Watch live coverage now on NASA TV and the agency’s website as undocking preparations continue for the return of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission with astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) from the International Space Station.

After the Crew-1 astronauts closed the Dragon hatch at 6:26 p.m. EDT, Expedition 65 astronauts closed the hatch of the orbital laboratory. With Crew-1 astronauts seated inside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft, teams are conducting standard leak checks and depressurization of the space between the spacecraft, called the vestibule, in preparation for its undocking and return to Earth.

NASA and SpaceX are targeting 8:35 p.m. for Crew Dragon to autonomously undock from the space station, with its four international crew members aboard the spacecraft, and return to Earth. After hooks holding Crew Dragon in place retract, two very small engine burns at 8:30 p.m. and 8:32 p.m. will fire to separate the spacecraft from the station.

Conditions remain “Go” at the primary targeted site, off the coast of Panama City, Florida, for splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico about 2:57 a.m. on Sunday, May 2.

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Crew Dragon Hatch Closed, Undocks Soon on NASA TV

Currently, five spaceships are attached to the space station including two SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicles, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft, and Russia's 77 resupply ship and Soyuz MS-18 crew ship. The Crew-1 Endeavour spaceship will undock today.
Currently, five spaceships are attached to the space station including two SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicles, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft, and Russia’s 77 resupply ship and Soyuz MS-18 crew ship. The Crew-1 Endeavour spaceship will undock today.

At 6:26p.m. EDT, the hatch closed between the Crew Dragon Resilience spacecraft and the International Space Station in preparation for undocking and return to Earth of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission with astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

NASA Television will air live coverage beginning at 8:15 p.m. for undocking scheduled at 8:35 p.m. and continue coverage through their splashdown off the coast of Panama City, Florida, at about 2:57 a.m. EDT on Sunday, May 2 and their recovery from the spacecraft.

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

NASA TV is Live Now With Crew Dragon Hatch Closure

The SpaceX Crew-1 official crew portrait with (from left) NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Soichi Noguchi.
The SpaceX Crew-1 official crew portrait with (from left) NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

Watch live coverage now on NASA TV and the agency’s website as undocking preparations are underway for the return of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission with Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker of NASA, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) from the International Space Station.

NASA and SpaceX are targeting 8:35 p.m. EDT for Crew Dragon to autonomously undock from the space station, with four international crew members aboard the spacecraft, and return to Earth.

Almost six-and-a-half hours later, after jettisoning its trunk and re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, Crew Dragon will splash down in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida about 2:57 a.m. EDT on Sunday, May 2. The primary splashdown target is Panama City, Florida.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 return coverage is as follows (all times are Eastern):

Saturday, May 1

  • 6 p.m. – NASA TV coverage begins for 6:20 p.m. hatch closure
  • 8:15 p.m. – NASA TV coverage begins for 8:35 p.m. undocking

Sunday, May 2

  • 2:57 a.m. (approx.) – Splashdown (NASA TV will provide continuous coverage from undocking to splashdown and crew recovery)
  • 5 a.m. – Return to Earth news conference at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, with the following participants:
  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, Kennedy Space Center
  • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station, Johnson
  • Holly Ridings, chief flight director, Johnson
  • Hans Koenigsmann, senior advisor, Flight Reliability, SpaceX
  • Hiroshi Sasaki, vice president and director general, JAXA’s Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission launched Nov. 15, 2020, on a Falcon 9 rocket from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a six-month science mission aboard the orbiting laboratory. The astronauts named the spacecraft Resilience, in honor of their families, colleagues, and fellow citizens and highlighting the dedication displayed by the teams involved with the mission and demonstrating that there is no limit to what humans can achieve when they work together. Crew Dragon Resilience docked to the Harmony module’s forward port of the space station Nov. 16, nearly 27 hours after liftoff.

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

Learn more about station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research
on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Sunday Splashdown Set for Crew-1 During Light Day on Station

From left, are the SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi.
From left, are the SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi.

Four SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts are making final preparations ahead of their return to Earth this weekend. Some of the Expedition 65 crew members staying behind on the International Space Station are relaxing today while others are focusing on science and lab maintenance.

Mission managers have decided to send Crew Dragon Resilience and its four astronauts back to Earth on Sunday. Resilience will undock from the Harmony module’s space-facing international docking adapter during an automated maneuver on Saturday at 8:35 p.m. EDT. It will splashdown about six-and-a-half hours later in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.

Hatch closure of the Resilience will be on Saturday at 6:20 p.m. with NASA TV beginning its broadcast at 6 p.m. Live continuous coverage of the undocking and splashdown activities starts at 8:15 p.m.

Resilience Commander Michael Hopkins and Pilot Victor Glover are finishing packing up personal items and emergency hardware inside Resilience today. They were assisted by Crew-1 Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi who also loaded science freezers filled with research samples inside the Crew Dragon. When the Crew-1 astronauts land they will have spent 168 days in space since launching to the station on Nov. 15 last year.

The newest crew aboard the orbital lab, the four SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts, are relaxing today. Station Commander Akihiko Hoshide and Flight Engineers Megan McArthur, Thomas Pesquet and Shane Kimbrough had their schedules cleared on Friday ahead of Saturday night’s Crew-1 undocking.

NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, who rode to space aboard the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship, processed samples for the Food Physiology experiment amidst a mostly slow day for him. Glover finalized his science work early Friday as he collected and stowed his blood and urine samples for later analysis.

The station’s two cosmonauts, Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov, stayed focused on maintenance in the orbiting lab’s Russian segment. The duo worked on power connections, ventilation systems and computer hardware throughout Friday.

Crew-1 Splashdown Waved Off as Station Teems With Science

The 11-member crew aboard the station is actually a combination of three different crews. The four Space Crew-2 astronauts are in the back row. The three-person crew of the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship are in the middle row. In the front row is the SpaceX Crew-1 foursome.
The 11-member crew aboard the station is actually a combination of three different crews. The four Space Crew-2 astronauts are in the back row. The three-person crew of the Soyuz MS-18 crew ship is in the middle row. In the front row, is the SpaceX Crew-1 foursome.

NASA and SpaceX have decided to move Crew-1’s undocking and splashdown from Friday, April 30, and Saturday, May 1, respectively, following a review of the forecast weather conditions in the splashdown zones off the coast of Florida, which continue to predict wind speeds above the return criteria. Mission teams from NASA and SpaceX will meet again on Friday to further review opportunities for the safe return of Crew-1. Crew Dragon is in great health on the space station, and teams will continue to look for the optimal conditions for both splashdown and recovery.

Commander Akihiko Hoshide is leading the Expedition 65 crew and will stay in space until October with his Crew-2 crewmates Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur and Thomas Pesquet. Also staying behind on the orbital lab are Soyuz MS-18 crewmates Mark Vande Hei of NASA and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov.

All 11 of the orbital residents stayed busy today with human research studies, lab maintenance, and emergency gear training as the Crew Dragon departure activities were under way.

The station was teeming with science on Thursday with the crew collecting and stowing urine samples, conducting behavioral research, and exploring how affects grip and movement. Fuel bottles supporting combustion experiments were swapped out while new hardware was installed to activate a high-performance space computer study.