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 to Host Briefings, Interviews for Agency’s SpaceX Crew-5 Mission

A collage of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 from left to right, top to bottom :NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina.
A collage of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 from left to right, top to bottom :NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina. Credits: NASA

A pair of news conferences on Thursday, Aug. 4, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston will highlight the agency’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station. The mission is NASA’s fifth crew rotation flight involving a U.S. commercial spacecraft carrying crew for a science expedition aboard the microgravity laboratory.

The agency will host a mission overview news conference at 12:30 p.m. EDT and a crew news conference at 2 p.m. Both will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website. The crew also will be available for individual interviews after 3 p.m.

The Crew-5 mission will carry NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada as well as JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anna Kikina. The Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon Endurance spacecraft is scheduled to launch no earlier than Sept. 29 from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

For a link to the full media advisory, click here.

NASA Invites Media to Next SpaceX Commercial Crew Space Station Launch

From left to right: Anna Kikina, Josh Cassada, Nicole Mann and Koichi Wakata – the crew of NASA's SpaceX Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station – poses for a group photo along with the official mission patch.
From left to right: Anna Kikina, Josh Cassada, Nicole Mann and Koichi Wakata – the crew of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission to the International Space Station – poses for a group photo along with the official mission patch. Photo credit: NAS

Media accreditation now is open for the launch of the fifth SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket that will carry astronauts to the International Space Station for a science expedition mission as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

The earliest targeted launch date for the mission is Friday, Sept. 29, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Crew-5 launch 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.

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.

To read the full advisory, click here.

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.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Underway as Freedom Journeys to Station

Crew-4 astronauts, from left, Jessica Watson, mission specialist; Bob Hines, pilot; Kjell Lindgren, commander and Samantha Cristoforetti, mission specialist, are positioned inside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Freedom. Crew-4 launched to the International Space Station from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 3:52 a.m. EDT on April 27, 2022.
Crew-4 astronauts, from left, Jessica Watkins, mission specialist; Bob Hines, pilot; Kjell Lindgren, commander and Samantha Cristoforetti, mission specialist, are positioned inside SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Freedom. Crew-4 launched to the International Space Station from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 3:52 a.m. EDT on April 27, 2022. Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, and Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti are on their way to the International Space Station, following the picture-perfect launch of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Freedom by the crew, launched atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida at 3:52 a.m. EDT.

“This is our fourth crew rotation flight – it’s kind of hard to believe,” said Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “It seems like Demo-2 was just yesterday, and it’s exciting to be here. We had a really clean countdown today – the Falcon 9 rocket did great; the Dragon vehicle did great. It was great to see the crew get in. You could tell they were excited to start their flight off.”

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the company’s Crew Dragon atop, soars upward after a 3:52 a.m. EDT liftoff from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission on April 27, 2022.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the company’s Crew Dragon atop, soars upward after a 3:52 a.m. EDT liftoff from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission on April 27, 2022. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Upon their arrival at the space station, the Crew-4 astronauts will be greeted by NASA astronauts of the Expedition 67 crew already on board. During their six-month stay aboard the microgravity laboratory, Lindgren, Hines, Watkins, and Cristoforetti will join the Expedition 67 crew in conducting a number of science and research investigations.

The Crew-4 astronauts will conduct new and exciting scientific research in areas such as materials science, health technologies, and plant science to prepare for human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit and benefit life on Earth. Experiments will include studies on the aging of immune systems, organic material concrete alternatives, and cardiorespiratory effects during and after long-duration exposure to microgravity. These are just some of the more than 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations that will take place during their mission.

Launching alongside the crew in the Dragon capsule is an investigation that seeks to restore meaningful vision to people suffering from retinal degenerative diseases like retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration. The Protein-Based Artificial Retina Manufacturing experiment tests the manufacturing of artificial retinas or retinal implants in microgravity, where it is expected their production could be optimized.

Also traveling to space aboard the Crew Dragon are Smart-Tex shirts as part of the German Space Agency (DLR) investigation called Wireless Compose-2. The shirts are fitted with sensors, wiring, and a communications module to wirelessly transmit data to a base station. The shirt is designed to monitor cardiovascular activity like relative blood pressure and can provide details about heart contraction rate and valve opening and closing times – something normally accessible only through sonography or CT scans. These kinds of wearable technologies could be used to monitor health throughout a long-duration space exploration mission and could lead to a more flexible implementation of this technology in health monitoring equipment on Earth.

Crew-4 is NASA’s fourth crew rotation mission with SpaceX for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Lindgren and Cristoforetti have previously traveled to the International Space Station, while it will be the first trip for Hines and Watkins. Crew-4 astronauts are slated to arrive at the space station today, April 27, with docking targeted for 8:15 p.m. EDT. Following docking and hatch opening, a welcoming ceremony is planned for 2:40 a.m. EDT.

Coverage of Crew-4’s arrival to the station will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website, beginning with docking at 8:15 p.m. EDT.

For mission updates, visit the station blog at https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation. Learn more about commercial crew and space station activities by following @commercial_crew, @space_station, and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the Commercial Crew and ISS Facebook pages and ISS Instagram accounts.

Crew-4 Postlaunch News Teleconference Set for 5:30 a.m.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti onboard, Wednesday, April 27, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission is the fourth crew rotation mission of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Lindgren, Hines, Watkins, and Cristoforetti launched at 3:52 a.m. ET from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center to begin a six month mission onboard the orbital outpost.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti onboard, Wednesday, April 27, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, and Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti on their way to the International Space Station has safely reached orbit, and the nosecone has opened.

At 5:30 a.m., NASA will host a postlaunch news teleconference from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, which will be aired live on the agency’s website. Participants in the briefing will be:

  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston
  • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station Program, NASA Johnson
  • Jessica Jensen, vice president, customer operations and integration, SpaceX
  • Josef Aschbacher, director general, ESA

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.

Learn more about station activities by following  @space_station  and @ISS_Research  on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook  and ISS Instagram  accounts.

Separation Confirmed, Crew Dragon Now Flying Solo

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Freedom by the Crew-4 astronauts, has successfully separated from the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage and is now flying on its own.

The spacecraft has safely reached orbit, and its nosecone has opened. NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, and Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti are slated to arrive at the International Space Station just over 16 hours from now, around 8:15 p.m. EDT on April 27.