NASA to Cover Crew-5 Flight Readiness Review

Crew-5 mission astronauts at SpaceX Headquarters
The four members of the SpaceX Crew-5 mission pose for a portrait in their Crew Dragon flight suits at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. From left are Mission Specialist Anna Kikina from Roscosmos; Pilot Josh Cassada and Commander Nicole Aunapu Mann, both from NASA; and Mission Specialist Koichi Wakata from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA will host a Flight Readiness Review (FRR) media teleconference on Monday, Sept. 26, in preparation for the fifth crew rotation mission with SpaceX as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

NASA and SpaceX continue to target no earlier than 12:46 p.m. EDT, Monday, Oct. 3, for launch of the agency’s Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The mission will carry NASA astronauts Nicole Aunapu Mann and Josh Cassada, who will serve as mission commander and pilot, respectively, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, who will serve as mission specialists.

These crewmates will travel to the space station for a six-month science and technology research mission. Plans also continue to return NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts following a short handover on the space station with Crew-5.

Today’s FRR starts at approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT and includes the following participants:

  • Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA Kennedy
  • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
  • Emily Nelson, chief flight director, Flight Operations Directorate, NASA Johnson
  • William Gerstenmaier, vice president, Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX
  • Junichi Sakai, manager, International Space Station Program, JAXA
  • Sergei Krikalev, executive director, Human Space Flight Programs, Roscosmos

Listen to audio of the teleconference streaming at: https://www.nasa.gov/live

Based on the duration of the readiness review, NASA may adjust the date of this briefing if not able to complete the telecon prior to 6 p.m. when the agency’s DART mission coverage begins.

Crew-5 Enters Quarantine for Mission to Space Station

NASA's SpaceX Crew-5 mission astronauts
From left, Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, NASA astronauts Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann, and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata will travel to the International Space Station on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission on Oct. 3, 2022. Photo credit: NASA

NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, entered their official quarantine period beginning Monday, Sept. 19, in preparation for their flight to the International Space Station on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission.

The process of flight crew health stabilization is a routine part of final preparations for all missions to the space station. Spending the final two weeks before liftoff in quarantine will help ensure Crew-5 members are healthy, as well as protect the astronauts already on the space station.

Crew members can choose to quarantine at home if they are able to maintain quarantine conditions prior to travel to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. If quarantining at home is not possible – for example, if a household member can’t maintain quarantine because of job or school commitments – crew members have the option of living in the Astronaut Quarantine Facility at Johnson Space Center until they leave for Kennedy.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission is the fifth crew rotation flight to the station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Crew-5 is targeted to launch no earlier than 12:45 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 3, on SpaceX’s Dragon Endurance atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy. Mission operations teams will be closely monitoring the weather leading up to liftoff.

After docking, the Crew-5 astronauts will be welcomed inside the station by the seven-member crew of Expedition 68. The astronauts of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission will undock from the space station and splash down off the coast of Florida several days after Crew-5’s arrival.

More details about the mission can be found in the press kit online and by following the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

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.

NASA, SpaceX Adjust Crew-5 Launch Date

From left, Koichi Wakata, of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, and NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada will fly aboard NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission. The crew will lift off aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft – atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket – from NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida. Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA and SpaceX are targeting no earlier than 12:45 p.m. EDT Monday, Oct. 3, for the launch of the agency’s Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station. The date adjustment allows for extra separation with spacecraft traffic coming to and from the space station.

Crew-5 will carry two NASA astronauts Mission Commander Nicole Mann and Pilot Josh Cassada, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, who will serve as mission specialists.

This is the first spaceflight for Mann, Cassada and Kikina. It is the fifth trip for Wakata. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will launch Dragon Endurance and the crew from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a science expedition mission at the space station.

Following a crew handover period, astronauts from NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission are scheduled for return to Earth in October aboard their SpaceX Dragon Freedom.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 Mission Nears Completion of Crew Training

Josh Cassada, Crew-5 astronaut
NASA astronaut Josh Cassada works on water survival training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Cassada, along with NASA astronaut Nicole Mann, Koichi Wakata of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina, will fly to the International Space Station aboard NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission. Photo credit: Johnson Space Center

By Jim Cawley
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

The crew members who will fly aboard NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission are in the home stretch of a unique 18-month training program to prepare them for their mission 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 NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Liftoff is targeted for no earlier than Sept. 29. This marks the fifth crew rotation mission of the company’s human space transportation system, and its sixth flight with astronauts, to the space station for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

The crew has undergone mission-specific training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, while also traveling to SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, for spacecraft training, and to international partner agencies for system and payload training.

NASA's SpaceX Crew-5 astronauts
Cassie Rodriquez, center, Crew-5 chief training officer at Johnson Space Center, poses with mission crew, from left to right, Josh Cassada, Anna Kikina, Nicole Mann, and Koichi Wakata. Photo credit: Johnson Space Center

“We really focus on what they’re going to need to perform the space station mission,” said Cassie Rodriquez, Crew-5 chief training officer at Johnson. “So that’s specific to the systems they’ll be working with and tasks they will be performing.”

In addition to space station systems, the crew has studied and participated in extravehicular activities; Russian language; robotics; T-38 jet flying; spacesuit training; spacecraft training; and physical, tool, and science training. The astronauts also are given opportunities to exercise crew resource management, where they are exposed to contingency situations, learning how to respond and take specific roles in case of an emergency.

“We put them through scenarios to help develop that teamwork and expeditionary skills; how to live and work with other people in very high-stress and dangerous situations,” Rodriquez said. “They have shown leadership, toughness, and focus in everything that they do. The dedication to human spaceflight, to making the mission a success – it’s very inspiring.”

Crew-5 will fly to the space station in 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.

NASA, SpaceX Provide Crew-5 Hardware Operations Status

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with Crew Dragon
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Dragon Endurance spacecraft for the Crew-3 mission is vertical at Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Oct. 27, 2021. Also in view is the crew access arm. Endurance will carry astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission, which is targeted to launch no earlier than Sept. 29, 2022. Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA and SpaceX are preparing for the fifth crew rotation mission of the company’s human space transportation system to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP).

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission is targeted to launch no earlier than Sept. 29, 2022, to the microgravity laboratory for a science expedition mission with NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, JAXA’s (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina.

A launch at the end of September will allow SpaceX to complete hardware processing and mission teams will continue to review the launch date based on the space station’s visiting spacecraft schedule. Launch of Crew-5 now will take place after a scheduled Soyuz undocking and launch period from Sept. 16-30.

Crew-5 astronauts will fly to the space station in Dragon Endurance, currently undergoing refurbishment for its second human spaceflight at SpaceX’s processing facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The spacecraft previously flew the agency’s Crew-3 mission to and from the space station. As part of the refurbishment process, teams will install new components such as the heat shield, parachutes, and pod panels.

This also will be the first time all four forward bulkhead Draco engines, which orient and provide altitude adjustment for the spacecraft during flight, are reused on a NASA commercial crew mission. SpaceX recently completed Dragon’s propulsion system checkouts and will soon mate the heat shield to the spacecraft. Once refurbishment is complete, Dragon will be stacked to its trunk ahead of transporting the vehicle to SpaceX’s hangar at Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

As teams progress through Dragon milestones, they also are preparing a first-flight Falcon 9 booster for this mission. SpaceX is removing and replacing the rocket’s interstage and some onboard instrumentation after the hardware was damaged during transport from SpaceX’s production factory in Hawthorne, California, to the company’s McGregor test facility in Texas for stage testing. SpaceX teams completed – and NASA teams reviewed – load, shock, and structural analyses, coupled with detailed and X-ray inspections, to verify the damage was isolated to the interstage and ensure the integrity of the rest of the booster.

After all replacement hardware is installed, the booster will undergo stage testing and be further assessed prior to acceptance and certification for flight.

Once all rocket and spacecraft system checkouts are complete and all components are certified for flight, teams will mate Dragon to the Falcon 9 rocket in SpaceX’s hangar at LC-39A. The integrated spacecraft and rocket will then be rolled to the pad and raised to vertical for an integrated static fire test prior to launch.

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 commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew on Twitter, and commercial crew on Facebook.

NASA Updates Astronaut Assignments for Boeing Starliner Test Flight

United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing's CST-100 Starliner
NASA astronauts Suni Williams, left, Barry “Butch” Wilmore, center, and Mike Fincke, right, watch as a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft aboard is rolled out of the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41 Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, ahead of the Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission. Photo credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

NASA will fly two astronaut test pilots aboard the agency’s Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT) mission to the International Space Station, where they will live and work off the Earth for about two weeks.

CFT commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore, whom NASA assigned to the prime crew in October 2020, will join NASA astronaut Suni Williams, who will serve as pilot. Williams previously served as the backup test pilot for CFT while assigned as commander of NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1 mission, Starliner’s first post-certification mission. As CFT pilot, Williams takes the place of NASA astronaut Nicole Mann, originally assigned to the mission in 2018. NASA reassigned Mann to the agency’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission in 2021.

NASA astronaut Mike Fincke, whom the agency previously assigned as the Joint Operations Commander for CFT, will now train as the backup spacecraft test pilot and remains eligible for assignment to a future mission. Fincke’s unique expertise will continue to benefit the team as he retains his position as flight test lead, filling a vital role in Starliner certification.

Click here to read the complete release.

Weather Forecast Improves for Today’s OFT-2 Launch

Boeing OFT-2 mission
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft aboard is seen on the launch pad Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Liftoff of the Orbital Flight Test-2 mission, from Space Launch Complex-41, is targeted for today at 6:54 p.m. EDT. Photo credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Meteorologists with the U.S. Space Force 45th Weather Squadron now predict an 80% chance of favorable weather for today’s uncrewed launch of NASA’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) to the International Space Station. Liftoff is scheduled for 6:54 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

The primary weather concerns for launch day are the cumulus and anvil cloud rules violations during the instantaneous launch window.

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, will lift off from Space Launch Complex-41. Live launch coverage begins at 6 p.m. EDT on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

Starliner Joins Atlas V at Space Launch Complex-41

Boeing's CST-100 Starliner
Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft rolls out from the company’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 4, 2022, on its way to Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Photo credit: NASA/Glenn Benson

On Wednesday, May 4, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner was joined with the rocket that will launch the spacecraft on its way to the International Space Station on an uncrewed flight test for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

During the operation, Starliner rolled out of the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility (C3PF) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and made its way to Space Launch Complex-41 (SLC-41) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in preparation for the company’s second uncrewed Orbital Flight Test (OFT-2)

CST-100 Starliner and Atlas V rocket
United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket and Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft are fully assembled in preparation for an integrated systems test. Photo credit: United Launch Alliance

Starliner was raised and carefully placed onto the rocket and now is fully assembled and ready for an integrated systems test, a tip-to-tail electrical check of the 172-foot-tall Atlas V and Starliner stack.

OFT-2 is scheduled to launch Thursday, May 19, to demonstrate the system’s human transportation capabilities.

About 24 hours after launch, Starliner will rendezvous and dock to the space station and then return to Earth five to 10 days later. The test is the last flight before the Starliner system launches American astronauts on the Crew Flight Test (CFT) to the microgravity laboratory – the spacecraft’s first flight test with crew on board. Potential launch windows for CFT are under review and will be determined after a safe and successful OFT-2.

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew on Twitter, and commercial crew on Facebook.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Flight Readiness Review Begins

NASA's SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts participate in a training session at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida late last year. From left, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, mission specialist; NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, commander; NASA astronaut Bob Hines, pilot; and NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins, mission specialist. Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA and SpaceX managers have gathered at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to start the Crew-4 mission’s Flight Readiness Review (FRR). Over the next several hours, the FRR will focus 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.

After the conclusion of the FRR, NASA will hold a media teleconference to discuss the outcome. While the teleconference will not be televised, media may call in to ask questions via phone. Contact the Kennedy newsroom no later than 4 p.m. EDT for connection details.

Participants in the teleconference include:

  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, Kennedy
  • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
  • Zeb Scoville, chief flight director, Flight Operations Directorate, Johnson
  • Frank De Winne, program manager, International Space Station, ESA

NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, and Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti will launch on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft for the Crew-4 mission as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. They will arrive at the International Space Station approximately 24 hours after launch. Crew-4 will arrive at station for a short overlap with NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, who flew to the station as part of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission in November 2021.