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.