The astronauts who will fly on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station are now en route to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to begin final launch preparations.
Crew-2 mission astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur of NASA, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, departed by plane from Ellington Field near the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston for the short flight to the launch site. The crew is expected to arrive at the Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy just before 12:45 p.m. EDT.
Crew-2 astronauts will be greeted at arrival to the launch site by leadership from NASA, JAXA, and ESA for a brief welcome ceremony targeted for approximately 12:45 p.m. EDT. The event is scheduled to broadcast live, if weather permits, on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
The Flight Readiness Review (FRR) for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station has concluded, and teams are proceeding toward a planned liftoff at 6:11 a.m. EDT Thursday, April 22, from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA will hold a media teleconference at approximately 7 p.m. EDT today, April 15, at Kennedy to discuss the outcome of the review. Listen live on NASA’s website.
Participants in the teleconference are:
Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations, NASA Headquarters
Steve Stich, manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program, Kennedy
Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
Norm Knight, deputy manager, Flight Operations Directorate, Johnson
Benji Reed, senior director, Human Spaceflight Programs, SpaceX
Junichi Sakai, manager, International Space Station Program, JAXA
Frank de Winne, manager, International Space Station Program, ESA
Randy Repcheck, acting director, Operational Safety, Federal Aviation Administration
Crew-2 mission astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, are scheduled to arrive at Kennedy on Friday, April 16, for their flight to the International Space Station. This is the second crew rotation flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the first with two international partners.
NASA and SpaceX managers are meeting today to assess the readiness for the Crew-2 mission. The Flight Readiness Review at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida also is assessing readiness for the Crew-1 return scheduled for April 28. The traditional FRR focuses on the preparedness of SpaceX’s crew transportation system, the International Space Station, and its international partners to support the flight, and the certification of flight readiness.
NASA will hold a media teleconference later today, no earlier than 6 p.m. EDT, April 15, about an hour after the conclusion of the review to discuss the outcome. You can listen to the news conference streamed live on NASA’s website. Media may ask questions via phone only and should contact the Kennedy newsroom for connection details no later than 5 p.m.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Endeavour, arrived at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on Monday, April 12, after making the trek from its processing facility at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The space capsule was placed atop the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and is scheduled to be transported to the pad later today, Thursday, April 15, and raised to the vertical launch position.
Crew-2 mission astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, will fly from their home base at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to the Florida spaceport, arriving on Friday, April 16.
The astronauts will depart from Ellington Field near Johnson and fly to Kennedy aboard a Gulfstream jet aircraft. They’re expected to arrive at Kennedy’s Launch and Landing Facility on Friday afternoon. Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk, Center Director Bob Cabana, Junichi Sakai, manager of JAXA’s International Space Station Program, and Frank de Winne, manager of ESA’s International Space Station Program, will greet the crew, followed by a media event at the runway that will broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency’s website, weather permitting.
For NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission, Kimbrough, McArthur, Hoshide, and Pesquet will launch to the International Space Station aboard Crew Dragon, powered by the Falcon 9. Liftoff from Launch Complex 39A is targeted for 6:11 a.m. EDT, Thursday, April 22.
This is the second crew rotation flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the first with two international partners following certification by NASA for regular flights to the space station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Operational, long-duration commercial crew rotation missions will enable NASA to continue the important research and technology investigations taking place aboard the station.
Awaiting Crew-2’s arrival are the Expedition 65 crew, which includes Crew-1 astronauts. Crew-1 NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, will undock Crew Dragon Resilience at 7:05 a.m. Wednesday, April 28, and splashdown off the coast of Florida at about 12:40 p.m., after 164 days in space.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.