Crew Dragon Endeavour Has Re-Docked to Station

The SpaceX Crew-2 Dragon is pictured after maneuvering to the Harmony module's space-facing international docking adapter.
The SpaceX Crew-2 Dragon is pictured after maneuvering to the Harmony module’s space-facing international docking adapter. Credit: NASA TV

Crew Dragon Endeavour with NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and  Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, have re-docked to the International Space Station.

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.

Coverage Underway for Crew-2 Port Relocation

The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour approaches the International Space Station
The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour approaches the International Space Station on April 24, 2021

NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website are providing live coverage as four residents of the International Space Station prepare to take a spin around their orbital neighborhood in the Crew Dragon Endeavour spacecraft, relocating it to prepare for the arrival of the agency’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2.

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.

Station Astronauts Relax Before SpaceX Crew Launches

The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour sits atop the Falcon 9 rocket during a sunset at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky
The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour sits atop the Falcon 9 rocket during a sunset at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

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.

Cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov stayed busy on Thursday in the station’s Russian segment. The duo partnered up for a study to maximize the effectiveness of space exercise. Novitskiy then checked out power systems while Dubrov worked on life support gear.

SpaceX Crew-2 Commander Shane Kimbrough and Pilot Megan McArthur will launch Friday at 5:49 a.m. to the station aboard the Crew Dragon Endeavour. The NASA duo will be flanked by Mission Specialists Akihiko Hoshide of JAXA and Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency. The veteran foursome will dock on Saturday at 5:10 a.m. to the Harmony module’s forward-facing international docking adapter. NASA TV begins its continuous launch and docking coverage on Friday at 1:30 a.m.

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.

Station Science in Full Swing as SpaceX Crew-2 Nears Launch

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon Endeavour atop stands at the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon Endeavour atop stands at the Kennedy Space Center launch pad in Florida.

Science is in full swing aboard the International Space Station today as the Expedition 65 crew studies how microgravity affects the human body. Back on Earth, four Commercial Crew astronauts are less than two days away from launching to the orbiting lab from Florida.

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.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 Astronauts Touch Down at Florida Spaceport

Crew-2 astronauts arrive at Kennedy Space Center's Launch and Landing Facility on April 16, 2021.
From left to right, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronauts Megan McArthur and Shane Kimbrough, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, react to comments after arriving at the Launch and Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center ahead of SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Florida. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission is the second operational 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. Kimbrough, McArthur, Pesquet, and Hoshide are scheduled to launch at 6:11 a.m. ET on Thursday, April 22, from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

The astronauts that will soon launch to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission arrived today, April 16, at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to start final preparations for liftoff.

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, landed via Gulfstream jet aircraft at the Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy after departing earlier today from Ellington Field near the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The astronauts were greeted by leaders from NASA, JAXA, and ESA. A media event began shortly after arrival with the following participants:

  • Steve Jurczyk, acting NASA administrator
  • Bob Cabana, center director, Kennedy
  • Junichi Sakai, manager, International Space Station Program, JAXA
  • Frank de Winne, manager, International Space Station Program, ESA
  • NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough, spacecraft commander
  • NASA astronaut Megan McArthur, pilot
  • JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, mission specialist
  • ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, mission specialist

The astronauts are scheduled to lift off at 6:11 a.m. EDT Thursday, April 22, aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft carried by a Falcon 9 rocket for a six-month science mission to the space station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

This is the second crew rotation flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the first with two international partners. More details about the mission and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program can be found in the press kit online and by following the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

NASA SpaceX Crew-2 ‘Go’ for April 22 Launch

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 Flight Readiness Review takes place at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on April 15, 2021.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 Flight Readiness Review takes place at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on April 15, 2021. Crew-2 is targeted to launch from the Florida Spaceport’s Launch Complex 39A on April 22 at 6:11 a.m. EDT. NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and  Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet will fly to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endeavour, powered by the company’s Falcon 9 rocket. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, left, talks with Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, Kennedy Space Center, during NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 Flight Readiness Review at Kennedy Space Center on April 15, 2021.
Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, left, talks with Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, Kennedy Space Center, during NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 Flight Readiness Review at Kennedy Space Center on April 15, 2021. The mission is targeted to launch from the Florida Spaceport’s Launch Complex 39A on April 22 at 6:11 a.m. EDT. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

The Flight Readiness Review (FRR) for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission to the International Space Station concluded April 15, and teams are proceeding toward a planned liftoff at 6:11 a.m. EDT Thursday, April 22, from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA will hold a media teleconference at approximately 7 p.m. EDT today, April 15, at Kennedy to discuss the outcome of the review. Listen live on NASA’s website.

Participants in the teleconference are:

  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Human Exploration and Operations, NASA Headquarters
  • Steve Stich, manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program, Kennedy
  • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
  • Norm Knight, deputy manager, Flight Operations Directorate, Johnson
  • Benji Reed, senior director, Human Spaceflight Programs, SpaceX
  • Junichi Sakai, manager, International Space Station Program, JAXA
  • Frank de Winne, manager, International Space Station Program, ESA
  • Randy Repcheck, acting director, Operational Safety, Federal Aviation Administration

Crew-2 mission astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, along with JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, are scheduled to arrive at Kennedy on Friday, April 16, for their flight to the International Space Station. This is the second crew rotation flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the first with two international partners.

Crew-2 Flight Readiness Review Begins as Falcon 9 Rocket and Crew Dragon Reach the Launch Complex

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, named Endeavour, is lifted and mated to the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A beginning April 13, 2021. Endeavour was transported to the Launch Complex 39A integration hangar on April 12, after making the trek from its processing facility at nearby Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and  Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet will fly to the International Space Station on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, named Endeavour, is lifted and mated to the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A beginning April 13, 2021. Endeavour was transported to the Launch Complex 39A integration hangar on April 12, after making the trek from its processing facility at nearby Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and  Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet will fly to the International Space Station on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission. Liftoff is set for Thursday, April 22, at 6:11 a.m. EDT.

NASA and SpaceX managers are meeting today to assess the readiness for the Crew-2 mission. The Flight Readiness Review at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida also is assessing readiness for the Crew-1 return scheduled for April 28. The traditional FRR focuses 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.

NASA will hold a media teleconference later today, no earlier than 6 p.m. EDT, April 15, about an hour after the conclusion of the review to discuss the outcome. You can listen to the news conference streamed live on NASA’s website. Media may ask questions via phone only and should contact the Kennedy newsroom for connection details no later than 5 p.m.

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Endeavour, arrived at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on Monday, April 12, after making the trek from its processing facility at nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The space capsule was placed atop the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and is scheduled to be transported to the pad later today, Thursday, April 15, and raised to the vertical launch position.

Crew-2 mission 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 from their home base at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to the Florida spaceport, arriving on Friday, April 16.

The astronauts will depart from Ellington Field near Johnson and fly to Kennedy aboard a Gulfstream jet aircraft. They’re expected to arrive at Kennedy’s Launch and Landing Facility on Friday afternoon. Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk, Center Director Bob Cabana, Junichi Sakai, manager of JAXA’s International Space Station Program, and Frank de Winne, manager of ESA’s International Space Station Program, will greet the crew, followed by a media event at the runway that will broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency’s website, weather permitting.

For NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission, Kimbrough, McArthur, Hoshide, and Pesquet will launch to the International Space Station aboard Crew Dragon, powered by the Falcon 9. Liftoff from Launch Complex 39A is targeted for 6:11 a.m. EDT, Thursday, April 22.

This is the second crew rotation flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and the first with two international partners following certification by NASA for regular flights to the space station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Operational, long-duration commercial crew rotation missions will enable NASA to continue the important research and technology investigations taking place aboard the station.

Awaiting Crew-2’s arrival are the Expedition 65 crew, which includes Crew-1 astronauts. Crew-1 NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, will undock Crew Dragon Resilience at 7:05 a.m. Wednesday, April 28, and splashdown off the coast of Florida at about 12:40 p.m., after 164 days in space.

More details about the mission and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program can be found in the press kit online and by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

SpaceX Crew-2 Astronauts Enter Quarantine for Mission to Space Station

The crew for the second long-duration SpaceX Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2, are pictured during a training session at the SpaceX training facility in Hawthorne, California. From left are, Mission Specialist Thomas Pesquet of the (ESA (European Space Agency); Pilot Megan McArthur of NASA; Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA; and Mission Specialist Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
The crew for the second long-duration SpaceX Crew Dragon mission to the International Space Station, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2, are pictured during a training session at the SpaceX training facility in Hawthorne, California. From left are, Mission Specialist Thomas Pesquet of the (ESA (European Space Agency); Pilot Megan McArthur of NASA; Commander Shane Kimbrough of NASA; and Mission Specialist Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and  Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, entered their official quarantine period beginning Thursday, April 8, in preparation for their flight to the International Space Station on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission. They will lift off at 6:11 a.m. EDT Thursday, April 22, aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour, carried by the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

For crews preparing to launch, “flight crew health stabilization” is a routine part of the final preparations for all missions to the space station. Spending the final two weeks before liftoff in quarantine will help ensure the Crew-2 crew is healthy, protecting themselves and the astronauts already on the space station.

If they are able to maintain quarantine conditions at home, crew members can choose to quarantine there until they travel to Kennedy. If they are unable to maintain quarantine conditions at home – for example, if a household member can’t maintain quarantine because of job or school requirements – crew members have the option of living in the Astronaut Quarantine Facility at Johnson Space Center until they leave for Kennedy.

Mask wearing, physical distancing, and other safeguards have been added because of the coronavirus. Anyone who will come on site or interact with the crew during the quarantine period, as well as any VIPs, also will be screened for temperature and symptoms. Kimbrough, McArthur, Hoshide, and Pesquet, as well as those in direct contact with the crew, will be tested twice for the virus as a precaution.

Crew-2 astronauts will become the second crew to fly a full-duration mission to the space station on Crew Dragon for a six-month science mission on the orbiting laboratory. They are scheduled to arrive at the space station at 5:30 a.m. EDT Friday, April 23. They will join the Expedition 65 crew, Crew-1 NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, along with NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov.

More details about the mission and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program can be found in the press kit online and by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.