NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 Astronauts Meet Their Dragon

NASA's SpaceX Crew-5 astronauts at Launch Complex 39A
Crew members for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station pose at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. From left, are NASA astronaut Josh Cassada, pilot; Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, mission specialist; NASA astronaut Nicole Mann, mission commander; and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata, mission specialist. Photo credit: SpaceX

By Jim Cawley
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

The astronauts who will fly aboard NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission next month are now well-acquainted with their ride to space. Following a successful crew equipment interface testing (CEIT) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, crew members are ready for their trip to the International Space Station for a science expedition mission.

NASA astronauts Nicole Mann, commander; Josh Cassada, pilot; and mission specialists Koichi Wakata, of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina will lift off aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft – on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket – from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy. Liftoff is targeted for no earlier than Oct. 3. As part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, Crew-5 marks the sixth human spaceflight mission on SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft and the fifth crew rotation mission to the space station since 2020.

CEIT allows crew members to familiarize themselves with the launch-day timeline and the Dragon interior in a close-to-flight configuration. As part of the testing, astronauts don their flight suits, perform a suited ingress into the vehicle, conduct suit leak checks, and complete communication checkouts.

While inside the vehicle, the crew also listens to the Dragon spacecraft’s fans and pumps to prepare them for the sounds they can expect to hear on launch day. Crew members take additional time to familiarize themselves with the interior of the Dragon before egressing the vehicle, which marks CEIT’s conclusion.

The crew also has undergone mission-specific training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. This unique 18-month training program featured activities such as studying and participating in extravehicular activities; Russian language; robotics; T-38 jet flying; spacesuit training; spacecraft training; and physical, tool, and science training.

Crew-5 will fly to the space station in SpaceX’s Dragon Endurance, which previously flew the agency’s Crew-3 mission to and from the orbiting laboratory. Follow the commercial crew blog for the latest information on Crew-5 progress and flight readiness as reviews and milestones continue. NASA and its partners will host a media event in the coming weeks to discuss more about Crew-5 progress.

Details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the Crew-5 blog, the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew on Twitter, and commercial crew on Facebook.

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