Liftoff! Crew-2 Astronauts on Their Way to the International Space Station

Liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with Crew Dragon atop launches the Crew-2 mission at 5:49 a.m. EDT April 23, 2021, from Launch Complex 39A.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with Crew Dragon atop lifts off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the Crew-2 mission April 23, 2021, at 5:49 a.m.

The Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft Endeavour lifts off in the early morning from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center. Crew-2 astronauts Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Akihido Hoshide, and Thomas Pesquet have begun their 23.5-hour journey to the International Space Station on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission. Liftoff occurred at 5:49:02 a.m. EDT.

Max Q (the moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket) will happen in the next minute.

Crew-2 Remains on Schedule, Launch Less Than 15 Minutes Away

Fuel loading is complete on the first stage, and liquid oxygen loading has begun on the second stage. Everything remains on target for the 5:49 a.m. EDT launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Propellant and Liquid Oxygen Loading Underway

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket fueling has begun. RP-1 (rocket grade kerosene) loading and first stage liquid oxygen loading is underway. Liftoff is scheduled for 5:49 a.m. EDT.

For this morning’s launch, the U.S. Space Force 45th Weather Squadron continues to predict a 90% chance of favorable weather conditions at the launch pad for liftoff based on Falcon 9 Crew Dragon launch weather criteria.

SpaceX Launch Director Verifies ‘Go’ for Propellant Load

In just a few minutes, the rocket’s first stage will be loaded with rocket grade kerosene called RP-1 and liquid oxygen. Then the second stage will be loaded with liquid oxygen.

Crew Dragon Spacecraft is ‘Go’ for Launch

Confirmation was received from Commander Shane Kimbrough that Crew Dragon, named Endeavour by the crew, is ‘go’ for launch! The next call will come at T-minus 45 minutes from the launch director. Weather looks good and we remain on target for a 5:49 a.m. EDT launch.

Hatch Closed on Crew Dragon

The hatch is closed on Crew Dragon.The hatch is now closed on the Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Endeavour by the Crew-2 astronauts. Liftoff for Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, Akihido Hoshide, and Thomas Pesquet is just under two hours away (5:49 a.m. EDT).

Crew-2 Astronauts Are Secured Inside the Crew Dragon Spacecraft

The Crew-2 astronauts are in view inside the Crew Dragon spacecraft at Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 23, 2021.
The Crew-2 astronauts are in view inside the Crew Dragon spacecraft at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 23, 2021. Photo credit: NASA

The Crew-2 astronauts are in view inside the Crew Dragon spacecraft before the hatch was closed and secured.

What Do Astronauts Listen to While Riding in a Tesla to Their Rocket?

Here is a sample of the Crew-2 playlists:

  • First car (Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur): “Learn to Fly” by the Foo Fighters, “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne, “Enter Sandman” by Metallica, and “City of Blinding Lights” by U2.
  • Second car (Thomas Pesquet and Akihiko Hoshide): “Drops of Jupiter” by Train, “Paradise City” by Guns and Roses, and “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins

The Boarding Process for Crew Dragon Endeavour is Underway

The Crew-2 astronauts are boarding the Crew Dragon spacecraft at Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 23, 2021.
The Crew-2 astronauts are boarding the Crew Dragon spacecraft at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 23, 2021. Photo credit: NASA

Crew-2 astronauts are now boarding the Crew Dragon spacecraft, Endeavour. As the astronauts board, their seats are configured in the upright position; later, prior to closure of the spacecraft’s side hatch, the seats will be rotated into a reclined position for flight.

All astronauts signed the inside of the White Room, an area at the end of the crew access arm that provides access to the spacecraft. The term “White Room” dates back to the Gemini program. To honor tradition, the room is still painted white today.