NASA Updates Astronaut Assignments for Boeing Starliner Test Flight

United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing's CST-100 Starliner
NASA astronauts Suni Williams, left, Barry “Butch” Wilmore, center, and Mike Fincke, right, watch as a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft aboard is rolled out of the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41 Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, ahead of the Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) mission. Photo credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

NASA will fly two astronaut test pilots aboard the agency’s Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT) mission to the International Space Station, where they will live and work off the Earth for about two weeks.

CFT commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore, whom NASA assigned to the prime crew in October 2020, will join NASA astronaut Suni Williams, who will serve as pilot. Williams previously served as the backup test pilot for CFT while assigned as commander of NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1 mission, Starliner’s first post-certification mission. As CFT pilot, Williams takes the place of NASA astronaut Nicole Mann, originally assigned to the mission in 2018. NASA reassigned Mann to the agency’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission in 2021.

NASA astronaut Mike Fincke, whom the agency previously assigned as the Joint Operations Commander for CFT, will now train as the backup spacecraft test pilot and remains eligible for assignment to a future mission. Fincke’s unique expertise will continue to benefit the team as he retains his position as flight test lead, filling a vital role in Starliner certification.

Click here to read the complete release.

Weather Forecast Improves for Today’s OFT-2 Launch

Boeing OFT-2 mission
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft aboard is seen on the launch pad Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Liftoff of the Orbital Flight Test-2 mission, from Space Launch Complex-41, is targeted for today at 6:54 p.m. EDT. Photo credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Meteorologists with the U.S. Space Force 45th Weather Squadron now predict an 80% chance of favorable weather for today’s uncrewed launch of NASA’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) to the International Space Station. Liftoff is scheduled for 6:54 p.m. EDT from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

The primary weather concerns for launch day are the cumulus and anvil cloud rules violations during the instantaneous launch window.

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, will lift off from Space Launch Complex-41. Live launch coverage begins at 6 p.m. EDT on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

Starliner Joins Atlas V at Space Launch Complex-41

Boeing's CST-100 Starliner
Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft rolls out from the company’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 4, 2022, on its way to Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Photo credit: NASA/Glenn Benson

On Wednesday, May 4, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner was joined with the rocket that will launch the spacecraft on its way to the International Space Station on an uncrewed flight test for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

During the operation, Starliner rolled out of the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility (C3PF) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and made its way to Space Launch Complex-41 (SLC-41) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in preparation for the company’s second uncrewed Orbital Flight Test (OFT-2)

CST-100 Starliner and Atlas V rocket
United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket and Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft are fully assembled in preparation for an integrated systems test. Photo credit: United Launch Alliance

Starliner was raised and carefully placed onto the rocket and now is fully assembled and ready for an integrated systems test, a tip-to-tail electrical check of the 172-foot-tall Atlas V and Starliner stack.

OFT-2 is scheduled to launch Thursday, May 19, to demonstrate the system’s human transportation capabilities.

About 24 hours after launch, Starliner will rendezvous and dock to the space station and then return to Earth five to 10 days later. The test is the last flight before the Starliner system launches American astronauts on the Crew Flight Test (CFT) to the microgravity laboratory – the spacecraft’s first flight test with crew on board. Potential launch windows for CFT are under review and will be determined after a safe and successful OFT-2.

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew on Twitter, and commercial crew on Facebook.

NASA Leadership Remarks on Upcoming Crew-4 Launch

From left, moderator Megan Cruz, NASA Communications; Bill Nelson, NASA administrator; Bob Cabana, NASA associate administrator; Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters in Washington; Josef Aschbacher, director general, ESA (European Space Agency); and Heidi Parris, associate program scientist for the International Space Station Program, NASA Johnson attend a Crew-4 press briefing April 26, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida ahead of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-4 launch. Crew-4 is the fourth crew rotation flight to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. The SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule is targeted to launch atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A to the space station on Wednesday, April 27, at 3:52 a.m. EDT.
From left, moderator Megan Cruz, NASA Communications; Bill Nelson, NASA administrator; Bob Cabana, NASA associate administrator; Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters in Washington; Heidi Parris, associate program scientist for the International Space Station Program, NASA Johnson; and Josef Aschbacher, director general, ESA (European Space Agency) attend a Crew-4 press briefing April 26, 2022, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida ahead of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-4 launch. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Earlier on Tuesday, April 26, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and senior NASA leadership addressed members of the media during a briefing held at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission, now less than a day away.

“Flying safely with crew means that you’ve got to do it one step at a time,” said Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters. “So, tomorrow morning, we’re hoping that you’ll get to see a really, really beautiful step, and we’ll get our crew safely to orbit.”

Crew-4 is the fourth crew rotation flight of a U.S. commercial spacecraft under the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. The mission will send NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, and Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti to the International Space Station for a rotation science expedition, living and working as part of what is expected to be a 7-member crew.

Lindgren and Hines were assigned to the Crew-4 mission in February 2021 and began working and training on SpaceX’s next-generation human spacecraft and for their stay aboard the space station. Cristoforetti was assigned to the mission in March 2021 and Watkins was added as the fourth crew member in November 2021.

The Crew-4 mission continues NASA’s efforts to restore and maintain American leadership in human spaceflight. Regular commercial crew rotation missions enable NASA to continue the important research and technology investigations taking place aboard the station. Such research benefits people on Earth and lays the groundwork for future exploration beyond low-Earth orbit, starting with the agency’s Artemis missions, which includes landing the first woman and person of color on the lunar surface.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft, which the crew has named Freedom, are scheduled to lift off at 3:52 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 27. Just over 17 hours after launch, the crew is expected to arrive at the orbiting laboratory. Docking is planned for approximately 8:15 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 27.

Weather officials with the U.S. Space Force’s 45th Weather Squadron are predicting an 90% chance of favorable weather conditions for launch – this is derived from Falcon 9 Crew Dragon launch weather criteria. The primary weather concerns are cumulus cloud and flight through precipitation rules.

For more than 21 years, humans have continuously lived and worked aboard the International Space Station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies that enable us to prepare for human exploration to the Moon and Mars. The station’s design requires humans living aboard to maintain it, operate it, and upgrade it; thus, International Space Station operations, including commercial resupply and commercial crew, are essential to the mission.

Live coverage of launch preparations and liftoff will begin at 12 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 27, on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

Read more on the Crew-4 mission blog.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Astronauts Arrive at Florida Spaceport

Crew members for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission to the International Space Station arrive at the Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 18, 2022. From left, are NASA astronauts Jessica Watkins, Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines, and Samantha Cristoforetti, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut. The crew will enter quarantine at the center’s astronaut crew quarters as they await launch aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 rocket. Launch is targeted for 5:26 a.m. EDT on April 23, 2022, from Launch Complex 39A. Crew-4 is the fourth crew rotation flight to the space station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Crew members for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission to the International Space Station arrive at the Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 18, 2022. From left, are NASA astronauts Jessica Watkins, Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines, and Samantha Cristoforetti, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut. The crew will enter quarantine at the center’s astronaut crew quarters as they await launch aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 rocket. Launch is targeted for 5:26 a.m. EDT on April 23, 2022, from Launch Complex 39A. Crew-4 is the fourth crew rotation flight to the space station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

The astronauts who will launch this week to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission arrived today, April 18, at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to undergo final preparations before launch.

NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, and Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, landed 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 crew was greeted by leaders from NASA and ESA, and a media event began shortly after their arrival. Participants included:

  • KSC Center Director Janet Petro
  • Kathy Lueders, NASA associate administrator, space operations
  • Barbara Nucera, ESA Houston team leader
  • NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren
  • NASA astronaut Bob Hines
  • NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins
  • ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti

Crew-4 astronauts are scheduled to lift off at 5:26 a.m. EDT on Saturday, April 23, aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A. They are slated to arrive at the space station the following day, where they will begin their science mission aboard the orbiting laboratory. Docking is targeted for around 6:00 a.m. EDT on Sunday, April 24.

This is the fourth crew rotation flight for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. More details about the mission and the Commercial Crew Program can be found in the online press kit, or by following the commercial crew blog@commercial_crew, and commercial crew on Facebook.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Astronauts En Route to Kennedy Space Center

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts participate in a training session at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. From left to right: NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-4 mission specialist Jessica Watkins; NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-4 pilot Robert “Bob” Hines; NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-4 commander Kjell Lindgren; and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut and Crew-4 mission specialist Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy.
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts participate in a training session at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. From left to right: NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-4 mission specialist Jessica Watkins; NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-4 pilot Robert “Bob” Hines; NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-4 commander Kjell Lindgren; and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut and Crew-4 mission specialist Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy. Photo credit: NASA

The astronauts flying on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission to the International Space Station are now on their way to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to begin final preparations for launch.

NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, and Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, boarded a Gulfstream jet aircraft and departed from Ellington Field near the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston for the flight to Florida. The crew is expected to arrive at the Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy around 12:30 p.m. EDT.

Crew-4 astronauts will be greeted upon their arrival by Kennedy Space Center Director Janet Petro along with NASA Associate Administrator, Space Operations Kathy Lueders, and ESA Houston Office Team Leader Barbara Nucera. Coverage will begin at approximately 12:30 p.m. EDT, and will include welcome remarks, crew comments, and a brief question and answer session with attending news media. The event will be broadcast live on NASA TV and the agency’s website, weather permitting.

Crew-4 FRR Concludes; NASA, SpaceX ‘Go’ for April 23 Launch

Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program at Kennedy Space Center, participates in a Flight Readiness Review for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission at the Florida spaceport on April 15, 2022. International partners also participated. NASA and SpaceX mission managers held the FRR to confirm the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft are ready for launch. Crew-4 is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A on April 23, 2022, as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Liftoff of the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft is targeted for 5:26 a.m. EDT.
Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program at Kennedy Space Center, participates in a Flight Readiness Review for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission at the Florida spaceport on April 15, 2022. International partners also participated. NASA and SpaceX mission managers held the FRR to confirm the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft are ready for launch. Crew-4 is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A on April 23, 2022, as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Liftoff of the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft is targeted for 5:26 a.m. EDT. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

The Flight Readiness Review for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission to the International Space Station has concluded, and teams are proceeding toward a 5:26 a.m. EDT liftoff on Saturday, April 23, from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida. NASA will hold a media conference at approximately 4:30 p.m. EDT to discuss the outcome of the review. Listen live on the agency’s website.

Participants in the teleconference are:

Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, participates in a Flight Readiness Review for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 15, 2022. International partners also participated. NASA and SpaceX mission managers held the review to confirm the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft are ready for launch. Crew-4 is scheduled to launch to the International Space Station from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A on April 23, 2022, as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Liftoff of the Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft is targeted for 5:26 a.m. EDT.
Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, participates in a Flight Readiness Review for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 15, 2022. Photo credit: NASA/Isaac Watson
  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, Kennedy
  • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
  • Zeb Scoville, chief flight director, Flight Operations Directorate, Johnson
  • Jared Metter, director, Flight Reliability, SpaceX
  • Frank De Winne, program manager, International Space Station, ESA

NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, and Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, will launch on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft, named Freedom, for the fourth crew rotation flight under the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

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

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Flight Readiness Review Begins

NASA's SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts participate in a training session at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida late last year. From left, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, mission specialist; NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, commander; NASA astronaut Bob Hines, pilot; and NASA astronaut Jessica Watkins, mission specialist. Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA and SpaceX managers have gathered at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to start the Crew-4 mission’s Flight Readiness Review (FRR). Over the next several hours, the FRR will focus 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.

After the conclusion of the FRR, NASA will hold a media teleconference to discuss the outcome. While the teleconference will not be televised, media may call in to ask questions via phone. Contact the Kennedy newsroom no later than 4 p.m. EDT for connection details.

Participants in the teleconference include:

  • Kathy Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, Kennedy
  • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
  • Zeb Scoville, chief flight director, Flight Operations Directorate, Johnson
  • Frank De Winne, program manager, International Space Station, ESA

NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, and Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti will launch on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft for the Crew-4 mission as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. They will arrive at the International Space Station approximately 24 hours after launch. Crew-4 will arrive at station for a short overlap with NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, who flew to the station as part of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission in November 2021.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 Trains for Upcoming Mission

SpaceX Crew-4 Preflight and Training
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts participate in a training session at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, CA. From left to right: NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-4 mission specialist Jessica Watkins; NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-4 pilot Robert “Bob” Hines; NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-4 commander Kjell Lindgren; and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut and Crew-4 mission specialist Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy. Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 team – consisting of NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, Jessica Watkins, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti – have been busy getting ready for their upcoming mission to the International Space Station. The mission is scheduled to launch Friday, April 15, from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

SpaceX Crew-4 Preflight and Training
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts – NASA astronaut and Crew-4 pilot Bob Hines (left), and NASA astronaut and Crew-4 commander Kjell Lindgren (right) – participate in a training session at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, CA. Photo credit: SpaceX

During recent training at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, the crew participated in simulations focused on undocking and departing from the space station. All four astronauts practiced in a high-fidelity simulator of SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, complete with flight-realistic hardware, displays, and seats. Each astronaut gained experience suiting up and configuring the spacecraft for departure. Commander Lindgren and pilot Hines took their places in the center seats, with access to flight displays they’ll use to monitor the spacecraft’s status and, if needed, take manual control of the spacecraft.

Astronaut crews regularly train for all phases of flight, using simulations to practice normal operations and respond to any unexpected issues. These simulations typically include multiple “runs” for a given day, with crew and flight controllers practicing a specific phase of the mission. Using simulated data to train personnel, simulations introduce system failures and other challenges to give teams the opportunity to prepare for and understand potential anomalies that could arise during a spaceflight, all while arming the crew with the skills needed for effectively overcoming these challenges.

SpaceX Crew-4 Preflight and Training
NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 astronauts train at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. From left to right: ESA astronaut and Crew-4 mission specialist Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy; NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-4 commander Kjell Lindgren; NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-4 pilot Robert “Bob” Hines; and NASA astronaut and SpaceX Crew-4 mission specialist Jessica Watkins. Photo credit: SpaceX

While at Kennedy Space Center for emergency preparedness training, the crew visited the launch tower at Launch Complex 39A and trained on the emergency egress system, which employs slide wire baskets that enable crew and personnel to safely and quickly evacuate from the launch tower in the event of an emergency.

To become more familiar with recovery operations, the astronauts found their sea legs aboard SpaceX’s Dragon recovery vessels that will be used by joint SpaceX and NASA teams to pick up the crew following splashdown at the end of their mission. Two identical vessels cover potential landing zones off of the coast of Florida. The astronauts also toured one of SpaceX’s hangars where Falcon 9 rockets are refurbished and prepared for flight.

The crew is scheduled for a science expedition aboard the International Space Station, living and working as part of orbiting laboratory’s Expeditions 67 and 68. Crew-4 will be the fourth crew rotation mission with SpaceX, and fifth crewed flight overall including the Demo-2 flight test, for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog@commercal_crew and commercial crew on Facebook. For more Crew-4 images visit the Crew-4 Flickr album.

Crew Dragon Arrives at Launch Pad Ahead of Crew-3 Launch

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket stands at Launch Complex 39A in Florida ahead of the Crew-3 launch.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen on the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, as preparations continue for the Crew-3 mission at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the Crew Dragon spacecraft atop, rolled out to the launch pad last night, Oct. 26, at Kennedy Space Center in Florida in preparation for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 launch. The rocket is now in a vertical position at Kennedy’s Launch Pad 39A, awaiting liftoff on Sunday, Oct. 31.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with Crew Dragon rolls out to Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the Crew-3 launch.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with Crew Dragon rolls out to Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida in the early morning hours of Oct. 27, 2021 for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission. Photo credit: SpaceX

The mission will carry NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, as well as ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer, to the International Space Station for a six-month stay. Launch is scheduled for 2:21 a.m. EDT, and the crew is expected to arrive at the orbiting laboratory about 22 hours later, at 12:10 a.m. EDT on Monday, Nov.1.

Upon their arrival, the Crew-3 astronauts will have a short overlap with NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who flew to the station as part of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-2 mission in April 2021. Crew-2 astronauts are scheduled to return to Earth in early November.

The mission will fly a new Crew Dragon spacecraft, which crew members have named Endurance, and will be the first to fly a previously used nosecone. In support of Crew-3, SpaceX implemented several improvements to the Crew Dragon system based on knowledge gained from previous flights, including making a software change to build in more communications robustness against radiation effects while docked, adding more cleaning techniques to cut down on foreign object debris, improving computer performance during re-entry, and enhancing the spacecraft’s docking procedures and mechanisms to mitigate hardware interference on the space station side of the interface.

Tomorrow, Oct. 28, the Crew-3 astronauts and launch teams will conduct a full dress rehearsal in preparation for launch. Find out what that entails in the video below.