NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 crew members are settling into their new orbital home aboard the International Space Station while Crew-6 make their own preparations for a safe return to Earth in the coming days.
Crew-7 NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov moved into the space station on Aug. 27. The crew launched on Aug. 26 from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Meanwhile, NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, UAE (United Arab Emirates) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev are wrapping up crew handover activities with Crew-7 which involves concluding science experiments, and transferring return cargo to their Dragon spacecraft. Their spacecraft has been docked with the space station since arriving in March 2023.
NASA and SpaceX are targeting Saturday, Sept. 2, for Crew-6 and SpaceX’s Dragon to undock from the space station and safely splashdown off the coast of Florida on Sunday, Sept. 3. Joint teams are monitoring weather forecasts across seven potential splashdown sites off the coast of Florida and any impacts Hurricane Idalia may have on recovery operations.
The agency will share more information on Crew-6 return as it becomes available.
An international crew of four representing four countries is in orbit following a successful launch to the International Space Station at 3:27 a.m. EDT Saturday, Aug. 26, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The agency’s SpaceX Crew-7 mission is the seventh commercial crew rotation mission for NASA.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the Dragon spacecraft into orbit carrying NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov, for a science expedition aboard the orbital laboratory.
“Crew-7 is a shining example of the power of both American ingenuity and what we can accomplish when we work together,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Aboard station, the crew will conduct more than 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations to prepare for missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond, all while benefitting humanity on Earth. By partnering with countries around the world, NASA is engaging the best scientific minds to enable our bold missions, and it’s clear that we can do more – and we can learn more – when we work together.”
During Dragon’s flight, SpaceX will monitor a series of automatic spacecraft maneuvers from its mission control center in Hawthorne, California, and NASA teams will monitor space station operations throughout the flight from the Mission Control Center at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Named Endurance, the Dragon spacecraft will dock autonomously to the space-facing port of the station’s Harmony module at 8:39 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 27. NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website will provide live coverage of docking and hatch opening. NASA also will cover the welcome remarks by crew aboard the orbital outpost at 11:30 a.m.
Crew-7 will join the space station’s Expedition 69 crew of NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen, Woody Hoburg, and Frank Rubio, as well as UAE (United Arab Emirates) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev, Dmitri Petelin, and Andrey Fedyaev. For a short time, the number of crew aboard the space station will increase to 11 until Crew-6 members Bowen, Hoburg, Alneyadi, and Fedyaev return to Earth a few days later.
“The International Space Station is an incredible science and technology platform that requires people from all around the world to maintain and maximize its benefits to people on Earth,” said Ken Bowersox, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “It’s great seeing Crew-7 launch with four crew members representing four countries who will live and work on humanity’s home in space as we continue the nearly 23 years of a continuous human presence aboard the microgravity laboratory.”
The Crew-7 mission enables NASA to maximize use of the space station, where astronauts testing technologies, performing science, and developing the skills needed to operate future commercial destinations in low Earth orbit and explore farther from Earth. Research conducted aboard the space station provides benefits for people on Earth and paves the way for future long-duration trips to the Moon through NASA’s Artemis missions.
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, commander; ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, pilot; and mission specialists JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov to the International Space Station has safely reached orbit, and the nosecone has opened.
A postlaunch news conference will be held at approximately 5 a.m. EDT at Kennedy Space Center with the following participants:
Ken Bowersox, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, Kennedy
Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station Program, Johnson Space Center
Benji Reed, director, Human Spaceflight Program, SpaceX
Dragon has separated from the second stage and is flying on its own. The spacecraft is traveling at approximately 17,000 miles per hour (27,000 kilometers per hour). About one minute later, the Dragon nosecone open sequence will begin.
Stage 1 of the Falcon 9 rocket completed its descent and landed at SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1 at nearby Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, becoming the first booster for a commercial crew flight to return to the station for recovery.
Max Q, or the moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket, has been reached.
In the next minute, the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage will separate from the second stage to attempt a landing at SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. If successful, this will be the first commercial crew launch to return a booster to land – rather than returning to a droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean – for recovery operations.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft Endurance light up the early morning Florida sky! NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, commander; ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, pilot; and mission specialists JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov have started their approximately 22-hour journey to the International Space Station on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 mission. Liftoff occurred at 3:27 a.m. EDT.