Crew Dragon autonomously undocked from the forward port of the station’s Harmony module at 6:45 a.m. and relocated to the space-facing port at 7:35 a.m. completing the second space station port change for the crewed spacecraft.
Next up for commercial crew, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner is scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station about one day following its launch at 2:53 p.m. Friday, July 30, on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The uncrewed flight test, NASA’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2), will test the end-to-end capabilities of Starliner from launch to docking, atmospheric re-entry, and a desert landing in the western United States. The uncrewed mission will provide valuable data about Boeing’s crew transportation system, and help NASA certify Starliner and the Atlas V rocket for regular flights with astronauts to and from the space station.
Crew-2 astronauts are targeted to return to Earth in early-to-mid November following a short handover with NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 astronauts targeted to launch on Sunday, Oct. 31.
NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet boarded the Crew Dragon spacecraft about 4:30 a.m. and are scheduled to undock from the forward port of the station’s Harmony module at 6:45 a.m. The spacecraft will dock again at the station’s space-facing port at 7:32 a.m.
This will be the second port relocation of a Crew Dragon spacecraft. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission lifted off April 23 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and docked to the space station April 24. Crew-2, targeted to return in early-to-mid November, is the second of six certified crew missions NASA and SpaceX have planned as a part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.
Good morning and welcome to live blog coverage of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission — the second crew rotation flight and the first with two international crew members on a U.S. commercial spacecraft with astronauts to the space station. Launch is scheduled for 5:49 a.m. EDT from the historic Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center.
The countdown is proceeding according to schedule. At the Florida spaceport’s Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building, the astronauts have eaten and will undergo medical checks and get a weather briefing before suiting up.
Stay with us as the countdown continues. We’ll keep you updated on the key milestones throughout this historic mission. Starting at 1:30 a.m. EDT, on NASA Television and the agency’s website, there will be continuous live coverage of important Crew-2 activities.
Launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission with astronauts to the International Space Station is on track for Friday, April 23, at 5:49 a.m. EDT. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with Crew Dragon spacecraft will lift off from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet will fly to the International Space Station for a six-month science mission. NASA TV coverage of Crew-2 launch preparations and liftoff will begin at 1:30 a.m. Friday, April 23. The Crew Dragon is scheduled to dock to the space station Saturday, April 24, at approximately 5:10 a.m. EDT.
For an April 23 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. The primary weather concerns for the launch area will be flight through precipitation from isolated, low-topped coastal showers and onshore flow. Conditions continue to improve along the flight path and recovery area for the mission.
Today, Thursday, April 22, is Earth Day. To commemorate this day, NASA is hosting Earth Day in Space. Singer-songwriterShawn Mendes will join five astronauts living and working aboard the International Space to discuss how we’re all #ConnectedByEarth, asking questions from young people around the world about Earth Day, climate change and how the astronauts study Earth from space.
The event will feature NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, who recently arrived to the space station aboard a Soyuz, joining NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi, the Crew-1 team who arrived last November. It will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s YouTube channel and website at 11 a.m. EDT April 22.
The Crew-1 astronauts are scheduled to depart the space station at 7:05 a.m. Wednesday, April 28. They will participate in their final news conference aboard the microgravity laboratory at 12:30 p.m. EDT Monday, April 26, about their upcoming return to Earth. Media wishing to participate by telephone must call NASA’s Johnson Space Center’s newsroom at 281-483-5111 to RSVP no later than 5 p.m. Friday, April 23. The news conference will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website. Those following the briefing on social media may ask questions using #AskNASA.
Crew-1 worked on a number of experiments as part of Expedition 64 to the International Space Station, including tissue chips that mimic the structure and function of human organs to understand the role of microgravity on human health and diseases, and translate those findings to improve human health on Earth. Astronauts also grew radishes in different types of light and soils as part of ongoing efforts to produce food in space and tested a new system to remove heat from spacesuits.
Five Expedition 65 astronauts are off-duty today relaxing one day before four Commercial Crew astronauts launch toward the International Space Station. The orbiting lab’s two cosmonauts focused on Russian science and life support maintenance tasks throughout Thursday.
NASA Commander Shannon Walker and Flight Engineers Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Mark Vande Hei of NASA including Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) took it easy on the station today. The quintet is relaxing before gearing up for six days of crew swap activities. They will get back to work on Friday with more space research and preparations for the arrival of the SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts early Saturday.
The new quartet’s arrival will set in motion the next crew swap as the SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts turn their attention toward returning to Earth on April 28. Hopkins will lead his crewmates Glover, Walker and Noguchi as they undock from the station then parachute inside the Crew Dragon Resilience to a splashdown off the coast of Florida just a few hours later.
Vande Hei will stay behind with Novitskiy, Dubrov and the four SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts. They will remain at the station as the Expedition 65 crew until the next series of crew swaps planned for later this year begins.
Blood samples, muscle scans and exercise were the subjects of Tuesday’s space research to learn how the human body adapts to weightlessness. To start the day, Flight Engineers Michael Hopkins and Soichi Noguchi collected their blood samples and stowed them in a science freezer for later analysis. Hopkins then joined Flight Engineer Victor Glover for muscle scans using an ultrasound device to understand how space impacts muscle tone, stiffness and elasticity.
NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, who is in his second week aboard the station, attached sensors to his chest and worked out on a stationary bike for another human research experiment during the day. The exercise study measures an astronaut’s aerobic capacity and the effort required to perform strenuous activities such as spacewalks.
Another muscle study is observing changes in the genetic expression of muscles that take place in microgravity. Station Commander Shannon Walker of NASA peered at tiny worms in a microscope and recorded video as they wriggled through a specialized device that measures muscle strength. Muscle proteins change in space affecting muscle mass and strength and scientists are exploring therapies to offset this loss.
Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov juggled a variety of science and maintenance tasks in the station’s Russian segment today. Novitskiy powered down an atmospheric study then configured communications and ventilation gear. Dubrov inspected areas in the Russian modules and studied ways to maximize a workout in space.
NASA and SpaceX mission managers are “go” for Thursday’s launch at 6:11 a.m. EDT of four Crew-2 astronauts to the space station. NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur will occupy the commander and pilot seats respectively inside the Crew Dragon Endeavour during the ride to their new home in space. They will be flanked by Mission Specialists Akihiko Hoshide and Thomas Pesquet when they dock on Friday at 5:30 a.m. to the Harmony module’s forward-facing international docking adapter. NASA TV will broadcast the Crew-2 mission continuously from launch to docking beginning Thursday at 2 a.m.
During a prelaunch news conference earlier this morning, Wednesday, April 20, mission managers with NASA and SpaceX have confirmed they are proceeding toward April 22 at 6:11 a.m. EDT for the Crew-2 mission that will launch from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the International Space Station.
“We’re ‘go’ for launch,” said Steve Stich, manager of the Commercial Crew Program at Kennedy Space Center. “Both Thursday and Friday launch weather looks good, with concern of winds around the pad for Thursday. Downrange weather is trickier as the front and the winds combine to create winds and waves. Friday looks better than Thursday, but we’ll continue to watch; we have another briefing tomorrow and will decide when the right time to make a decision is.”
Crew-2 mission astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur of NASA, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet will head to the space station for a six-month science mission in the Crew Dragon spacecraft, which will launch on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A.
“I’m honored to be here, excited to fly crew again, and to do it so quickly,” said Benji Reed, senior director of Human Spaceflight Programs at SpaceX. “In less than a year, we will have flown as many people in this NASA partnership than were flown with the Mercury program. Thanks to our partners NASA, ESA, JAXA, and the families who trust us with their family members.”
Crew-2 is the second crew rotation flight of a U.S. commercial spacecraft with astronauts to the space station and the first carrying two international crew members.
“It’s an exciting time. The crew is doing fine. They’re getting ready for launch,” said Norm Knight, deputy manager for Flight Operations at Johnson Space Center. “These reviews have been very thorough. Safety is number one. We’re looking forward to a very successful mission.”
The U.S. Space Force 45th Weather Squadron predicts an 80% chance of favorable weather conditions for lift off at the launch pad of the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon based on Falcon 9 Crew Dragon launch weather criteria. The primary weather concerns for the launch area will be liftoff winds. Teams also are monitoring weather conditions downrange for the flight of Crew Dragon.
On Wednesday, April 21, acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk will participate in a briefing at the Countdown Clock at Kennedy Space Center’s News Center at 8:30 a.m. along with the following participants:
Bob Cabana, Kennedy center director
Hiroshi Sasaki, vice president and director general, JAXA’s Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate
Frank de Winne, manager, International Space Station Program, ESA
NASA astronaut, Jasmin Moghbeli
NASA TV coverage of Crew-2 launch preparations and liftoff will begin at 2 a.m. Thursday, April 22. The Crew Dragon is scheduled to dock to the space station Friday, April 23, at approximately 5:30 a.m.
NASA’s virtual guests for the agency’s Crew-2 mission have shared more than 15,000 messages for the astronauts scheduled to launch to the International Space Station on April 22 — Earth Day. The messages hail from around the world in over seven languages with safety as one of most popular sentiments for the crew.
Virtual guests also frequently mentioned that they wish the crew “all the best” and they hope the crew takes time to “enjoy” the mission. If you’d like to be a virtual guest for this mission you can register until April 22. You can also join this list to learn about future opportunities.
Remember to tune into the launch on NASA Television, the agency’s website and the NASA app beginning at 2 a.m. EDT Thursday, Apr. 22, to watch live coverage of the launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission.
In addition to the launch, NASA is celebrating Earth Day through games, speakers, and activities. Be #ConnectedByEarth on social media. Check out these resources and more at www.nasa.gov/earth-day-2021.
Alongside their launch teams, the crew members are preparing for their mission to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon, named Endeavour, secured atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket. Crew-2 is the second crew rotation flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the first with two international partners in support of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.
Kimbrough, McArthur, Hoshide, and Pesquet began their day in the Astronaut Crew Quarters inside Kennedy’s Neil A. Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building. They put on their black-and-white SpaceX spacesuits, took the elevator down to the ground level and exited through a pair of double doors, where Tesla Model Xs waited to transport them to the launch pad. With smiles and waves, they climbed in for the 20-minute ride to Launch Complex 39A.
The Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft moved to the launch pad and into the vertical launch position on Friday, April 16. All four astronauts entered the Crew Dragon by way of the pad’s Crew Access Arm and checked their communications systems before the hatch was closed. The rehearsal concluded about 45 minutes prior to the scheduled launch time; lift off is set for Thursday, April 22 at 6:11 a.m. EDT.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 astronauts will participate in a virtual media event at 9:45 a.m. EDT April 17 from inside the Astronaut Crew Quarters at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, will answer questions during the event about their upcoming mission to the International Space Station. The event will be broadcast live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.
The crew arrived at Kennedy from NASA’s Johnson Space Center April 16 and began their stay in the crew quarters, located inside the center’s Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout (O&C) Building. The facility has housed astronauts over the years dating back to the Apollo and Space Shuttle Programs. When astronauts for commercial crew launches arrive before their missions, they usually spend about a week quarantined in the crew quarters.
The recently upgraded facility occupies about 26,000 square feet of the O&C building. The access-restricted area features 23 bedrooms – each with a bathroom – and the iconic suit room, where astronauts are helped into their pressure suits moments before boarding a vehicle to take them to Launch Pad 39A to board their spacecraft.
Kimbrough, McArthur, Hoshide, and Pesquet are scheduled to lift off at 6:11 a.m. EDT Thursday, April 22, aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft launched by a Falcon 9 rocket to begin a six-month science mission to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.