SpaceX Crew-2 Astronauts Enter Quarantine for Mission to Space Station

The crew for the second long-duration SpaceX Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2, are pictured during a training session at the SpaceX training facility in Hawthorne, California. From left are, Mission Specialist Thomas Pesquet of the (ESA (European Space Agency); Pilot Megan McArthur of NASA; Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA; and Mission Specialist Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
The crew for the second long-duration SpaceX Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2, are pictured during a training session at the SpaceX training facility in Hawthorne, California. From left are, Mission Specialist Thomas Pesquet of the (ESA (European Space Agency); Pilot Megan McArthur of NASA; Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA; and Mission Specialist Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and  Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, entered their official quarantine period beginning Thursday, April 8, in preparation for their flight to the International Space Station on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission. They will lift off at 6:11 a.m. EDT Thursday, April 22, aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour, carried by the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

For crews preparing to launch, “flight crew health stabilization” is a routine part of the final preparations for all missions to the space station. Spending the final two weeks before liftoff in quarantine will help ensure the Crew-2 crew is healthy, protecting themselves and the astronauts already on the space station.

If they are able to maintain quarantine conditions at home, crew members can choose to quarantine there until they travel to Kennedy. If they are unable to maintain quarantine conditions at home – for example, if a household member can’t maintain quarantine because of job or school requirements – crew members have the option of living in the Astronaut Quarantine Facility at Johnson Space Center until they leave for Kennedy.

Mask wearing, physical distancing, and other safeguards have been added because of the coronavirus. Anyone who will come on site or interact with the crew during the quarantine period, as well as any VIPs, also will be screened for temperature and symptoms. Kimbrough, McArthur, Hoshide, and Pesquet, as well as those in direct contact with the crew, will be tested twice for the virus as a precaution.

Crew-2 astronauts will become the second crew to fly a full-duration mission to the space station on Crew Dragon for a six-month science mission on the orbiting laboratory. They are scheduled to arrive at the space station at 5:30 a.m. EDT Friday, April 23. They will join the Expedition 65 crew, Crew-1 NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, along with NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov.

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.

NASA, SpaceX Relocate Crew-1 Dragon; More Crewed Flight Preps Continue

Crew-1 docking and relocating
Crew-1 Dragon relocates from one docking port to another Monday, April 5, in preparation for Crew-2 and future Cargo Dragon arrivals to the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV screenshot

NASA, SpaceX, and the Crew-1 astronauts aboard the International Space Station marked a milestone Monday with the relocation of Crew Dragon Resilience from one docking port to another, setting the stage for upcoming crew rotation missions and SpaceX’s next cargo flight to the station.

Crew Dragon relocation
Crew-1 astronauts monitor their Crew Dragon systems during the automated undocking and relocation to a different docking port. Credit: NASA TV screenshot

The planned relocation from the station’s Harmony Node 2 forward docking port to its zenith, or space-facing port, is a first for a commercial crew spacecraft, but demonstrates a task very likely to be commonplace in the future.

The move freed the forward docking adapter ahead of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission, which will deliver the next four astronauts aboard Crew Dragon Endeavour to augment the station’s Expedition 65 crew.

Crew-2 astronauts
From left to right, Crew-2 astronauts Thomas Pesquet (ESA), Shane Kimbrough (NASA), Akihiko Hoshide (JAXA) and Megan McArthur (NASA) visit SpaceX’s hangar at Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and  Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Aki Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet are scheduled to launch to the station at 6:11 a.m. Eastern, Thursday, April 22, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and arrive at the station the next day at approximately 5:30 a.m. Crew-2 will be the first commercial crew mission to fly two international partner crew members.

After an approximate five-day shift change, Crew-1 NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, will undock Crew Dragon Resilience at 5 a.m. Wednesday, April 28, and splashdown off the coast of Florida 7.5 hours later at about 12:35 p.m., after 164 days in space. Their return date and time is dependent on having a healthy spacecraft and favorable weather in the selected splashdown zone.

Crew-2 astronauts walk the aisle in SpaceX’s hangar at Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A, inspecting their Falcon 9 booster during final processing ahead of their scheduled April 22 launch. Photo credit: SpaceX

A Dragon cargo spacecraft carrying several tons of supplies and the first set of new solar arrays for the space station on SpaceX’s 22nd commercial cargo resupply mission is targeted to launch Thursday, June 3, and requires the space-facing port position to enable robotic extraction of the arrays from Dragon’s trunk using Canadarm2.

NASA Commercial Crew Program Manager Steve Stich talked with Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Kate Rubins and Hopkins Friday about their mission. He also highlighted the 10th anniversary Monday, April 5, of the public-private partnership that returned the launch of astronauts on American spacecraft from the United States.

Crew-2 astronauts
From left to right, Crew-2 NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, along with ESA’s Thomas Pesquet, and JAXA’s Akihiko Hoshide will be a part of the first commercial crew mission to fly two international partner crew members. Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA and SpaceX are continuing to prepare for the Crew-3 mission, targeted as early as Saturday, Oct. 23, followed by return of Crew-2 no earlier than Sunday, Oct. 31. These target dates allow NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and the station program to schedule future cargo and crew missions as needed to continue sustaining the orbiting laboratory where hardware and science needs are required.

A trio of astronauts were assigned to the Crew-3 mission last December by NASA and ESA to begin training for the planned six-month science mission.

The trio will consist of NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Tom Marshburn, who will serve as commander and pilot, respectively, and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, who will serve as a mission specialist. A fourth crew member will be added at a later date, following a review by NASA and its international partners.

NASA, Space Station Astronauts to Chat with Commercial Crew Program Manager

Steve Stich, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, monitors a countdown to launch from Firing Room 4 of the Launch Control Center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Steve Stich, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, monitors a countdown to launch from Firing Room 4 of the Launch Control Center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

NASA TV will broadcast a live downlink conversation with International Space Station astronauts Kate Rubins and Mike Hopkins and Commercial Crew Program manager Steve Stich at 10:20 a.m. Friday, April 2, to highlight the upcoming 10th Anniversary of the public-private partnership that returned human spaceflight to the United States, which is Monday, April 5.

Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Kate Rubins works with Biomolecule Sequencer experiment hardware inside the U.S. laboratory Destiny aboard the International Space Station.
Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Kate Rubins works with Biomolecule Sequencer experiment hardware inside the U.S. laboratory Destiny aboard the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA

The crew also will chat about their missions and highlight upcoming activities at the space station during the 10-minute event, including plans for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 Crew Dragon port relocation, Rubins’ return to Earth, the launch of Crew-2 and the upcoming return of Crew-1.

Kate Rubins is nearing her return home aboard a Soyuz on April 17. She will have spent 185 days in space on this Expedition and 300 days total, including her previous station flight. This will be the 4th most days in space by a U.S. female astronaut. She launched Oct. 14, 2020, along with Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov.

Crew-1 Commander Michael Hopkins works inside the Quest airlock.
Crew-1 Commander Michael Hopkins works inside the Quest airlock. Photo credit: NASA

Monday’s port relocation sets the stage for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 launch targeting 6:11 a.m. Thursday, April 22, and arrival at the space station the next day. Following a short handover, Crew-1 is scheduled to return Wednesday, April 28, weather and system dependent, splashing down about 12:35 p.m. aboard their Crew Dragon off the coast of Florida.

Crew-2 will be the first mission to fly two international partner crew members as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and  Megan McArthur will serve as spacecraft commander and pilot, respectively. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet will join as mission specialists.

Crew-1 NASA astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover and Shannon Walker, along with JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, will return after 164 days in space.