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 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.
“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.
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.