NASA, SpaceX Continue Crew-2 Space Station Undocking

Astronauts (from left) Thomas Pesquet, Megan McArthur, Shane Kimbrough and Akihiko Hoshide talk to journalists on Earth before their return to Earth aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour.
Astronauts (from left) Thomas Pesquet, Megan McArthur, Shane Kimbrough and Akihiko Hoshide talk to journalists on Earth before their return to Earth aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission continues to target a return to Earth no earlier than 7:14 a.m. EST Monday, Nov. 8, with a splashdown off the coast of Florida. The Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Endeavour, is scheduled to undock from the International Space Station at 12:04 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7, to begin the journey home. Mission teams completed an undocking weather review on Saturday and are ‘go’ to proceed to the next weather review about six hours prior to the scheduled undocking time. Winds remain the main watch item for the return of the mission.

NASA will provide coverage of the mission on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Aki Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet will complete 199 days in space at the conclusion of their mission. The spacecraft also will return to Earth with about 530 pounds of hardware and scientific investigations.

Endeavour now will forego a fly around maneuver to photograph the exterior of the International Space Station to allow for additional alternate splashdown locations off the coast of Florida.

NASA and SpaceX also have a backup undocking and splashdown opportunity available Monday, Nov. 8, if weather conditions are not favorable for the primary opportunity.

The NASA and SpaceX teams will determine a primary and alternate splashdown location from the seven possible landing locations prior to return, factoring in weather, crew rescue, and recovery operations. Additional decision milestones take place prior to undocking, during free flight, and before Crew Dragon performs the deorbit burn.

NASA and SpaceX closely coordinate with the U.S. Coast Guard to establish a safety zone around the expected splashdown location to ensure safety for the public and for those involved in the recovery operations, as well as the crew aboard the returning spacecraft.

With Crew-2 splashdown Monday, Nov. 8, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission is targeting launch no earlier than 9:03 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. For this launch opportunity, the Crew Dragon Endurance is scheduled to dock to the space station around 7:10 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 return coverage is as follows:

Sunday, Nov. 7
9:45 a.m. EST– Coverage begins for 10:15 a.m. hatch closure

11:45 a.m. EST– Coverage begins for 12:04 p.m. undocking (NASA will provide continuous coverage from undocking to splashdown)

Monday, Nov. 8
7:14 a.m. EST– Splashdown

Crew-2 is the second of six NASA and SpaceX crewed missions to fly as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, which is working with the U.S. aerospace industry to launch astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil.

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program has delivered on its goal of safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station from the U.S. through a partnership with American private industry. This partnership is changing the arc of human spaceflight history by opening access to low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station to more people, more science, and more commercial opportunities. The space station remains the springboard to NASA’s next great leap in space exploration, including future missions to the Moon and, eventually, to Mars.

VR, Space Biology Studies as Crew Nears Departure

Astronauts (from left) Thomas Pesquet, Megan McArthur, Shane Kimbrough and Akihiko Hoshide talk to journalists on Earth before their return to Earth aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour.
Astronauts (from left) Thomas Pesquet, Megan McArthur, Shane Kimbrough and Akihiko Hoshide talk to journalists on Earth before their return to Earth aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour.

A pair of astronauts aboard the International Space Station studied advanced piloting controls using virtual reality today. In the meantime, four Expedition 66 crewmates are turning their attention to returning to Earth this month.

An experiment sponsored by ESA (European Space Agency) is using virtual reality in the space environment to help engineers optimize workstations and interfaces for controlling future space robots and spacecraft. Commander Thomas Pesquet of ESA set up the Pilote experiment this morning for NASA Flight Engineer Megan McArthur who wore the virtual reality headset. She worked in the Columbus laboratory module wearing the VR goggles using a haptic controller to pilot and capture simulated spacecraft in a video game-like environment.

Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough of NASA and Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) worked throughout Friday on a variety of station hardware. Kimbrough worked in the in the U.S. Destiny laboratory module servicing thermal gear as Hoshide checked out lights and orbital plumbing systems in the Kibo laboratory module.

Kimbrough will also lead McArthur, Pesquet and Hoshide back to Earth inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour. The quartet have been packing Endeavour with personal items and station hardware, as well as training on a computer for the ride back home. The four commercial crew astronauts will undock from the Harmony module’s space-facing port and splashdown off the coast of Florida ending a station mission that began in April.

The orbiting lab’s other three crewmates, NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov, will continue their stay in space until spring next year.

Vande Hei trained throughout Friday for his role when he will be monitoring the Crew Dragon’s upcoming undocking and departure. He also checked U.S. toilet sensors before ending his day setting up hardware to collect biological samples. Shkaplerov continued cargo transfers inside the ISS Progress 79 resupply ship then photographed the Photobioreactor hybrid life support system experiment for inspection. Dubrov explored ways to maintain safe, sterile conditions when conducting microgravity biology research for the Aseptic study.

Station Readies for Crew Departure Amid Science and Cargo Work

The city lights of southern India and the island nation of Sri Lanka, beneath the Earth's airglow, are pictured from the station as it orbited above the Indian Ocean.
The city lights of southern India and the island nation of Sri Lanka, beneath the Earth’s airglow, are pictured from the station as it orbited above the Indian Ocean.

Four International Space Station astronauts continue packing their U.S. spacecraft as they plan for a return to Earth this month. Meanwhile, the Expedition 66 crew continued its ongoing space research and maintenance aboard the orbital lab.

Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur of NASA, who are also the commander and pilot of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission respectively, have been loading and readying the Crew Dragon Endeavour for its upcoming undocking and splashdown. The duo may undock for the ride back to Earth as early as Sunday, Nov. 7, with astronauts Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) ending a mission that began in April. NASA and SpaceX are continuing to review launch and return opportunities for Crew-3 and Crew-2, respectively.

Kimbrough also spent the day uninstalling incubator components before inspecting portable emergency gear. McArthur photographed a variety of space station tools for a survey. Hoshide replaced air filters as Pesquet organized cables and checked camera sensors.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei, who is over halfway through his near yearlong mission, opened up the Microgravity Science Glovebox on Thursday morning and began setting up a semiconductor crystal experiment. The study takes advantage of microgravity and lessons from previous studies to produce higher-quality semiconductor crystals potentially resulting in smaller, more powerful electronic devices.

The station’s two cosmonauts, Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov from Roscosmos, focused their activities today on the docked ISS Progress 78 and 79 resupply ships. The duo checked docking components on the both cargo craft while also unpacking science gear from the Progress 79 spacecraft.

Station Residents Work Science, Get Ready for Crew Swap

The waning gibbous Moon is pictured above the Earth's horizon as the International Space Station orbited 262 miles above eastern China.
The waning gibbous Moon is pictured above the Earth’s horizon as the International Space Station orbited 262 miles above eastern China.

The seven Expedition 66 crew members living and working aboard the International Space Station focused on a variety of microgravity research today while preparing to split up this month. Back on Earth, four commercial crew astronauts are preparing for their launch to the orbiting lab from Kennedy Space Center.

NASA Flight Engineers Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur have been packing the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour docked to the Harmony module’s space-facing port. The duo will return to Earth later this month inside Endeavour with Mission Specialists Akihiko Hoshide and Thomas Pesquet. They will complete their mission in space which began in April when they splashdown off the coast of Florida.

Hoshide, from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), worked inside the Kibo laboratory module relocating a microbe sensor before checking out the console that controls the Japanese robotic arm. Station Commander Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) put on a virtual reality headset for the Pilote technology demonstration and explored the ergonomics of robotic and spacecraft interfaces. The international duo also spent some time Monday packing personal items inside Endeavour for the ride back home.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei, who is staying on the station until April for a near yearlong mission, spent most of Monday working on the Fluids Integrated Rack. He set up components inside the physics research device to support operations for the new Fluids Boiling and Condensation Experiment.

The two cosmonauts working in the orbiting lab’s Russian segment spent their day on cargo transfers and science module connections. Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov packed and unpacked cargo today in the ISS Progress 78 and 79 resupply ships. The duo also checked and measured circuit connections between the new Nauka multipurpose laboratory module and the Zvezda service module.

Down in Florida, three NASA astronauts and one ESA astronaut of the SpaceX Crew-3 mission are now targeting their launch to the space station inside the Crew Dragon Endurance for no earlier than Nov. 6. Commander Raja Chari, with Pilot Thomas Marshburn, will lead Mission Specialists Kayla Barron and Matthias Maurer inside Endurance when it lifts off carrying the foursome to their new home in space where they will stay for six months.

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

Get weekly video highlights at: http://jscfeatures.jsc.nasa.gov/videoupdate/

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.