NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission to the orbiting laboratory is targeted to launch no earlier than mid-February. The mission will carry NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick, commander; Michael Barratt, pilot; and mission specialist Jeanette Epps, as well as Roscosmos cosmonaut mission specialist Alexander Grebenkin to the space station to conduct a wide range of operational and research activities. Routine maintenance and processing of the Crew-8 SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft is in work. This will be the first spaceflight for Dominick, Epps, and Grebenkin, and the third for Barratt. Crew-8 is expected to return to Earth in late August 2024, following a short handover with the agency’s Crew-9 mission.
Starliner Crew Flight Test (CFT)
The first crewed flight of the Starliner spacecraft, named NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT), is planned for no earlier than mid-April. CFT will send NASA astronauts and test pilots Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams on a demonstration flight to prove the end-to-end capabilities of the Starliner system. Starliner will launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, spend approximately eight days docked to the space station, and return to Earth with a parachute and airbag-assisted ground landing in the desert of the western United States.
NASA will provide an updated status of CFT readiness as more information becomes available.
Looking further ahead in 2024, NASA and SpaceX are targeting no earlier than mid-August for the launch of the agency’s Crew-9, SpaceX’s ninth crew rotation mission to the space station for NASA. An crew of four will be announced at a later date.
10th Crew Rotation Mission
The 10th commercial crew rotation opportunity to the space station is targeted for early 2025. NASA is planning for either SpaceX’s Crew-10 or Boeing’s Starliner-1 mission in this slot. The Starliner-1 date was adjusted to allow for the post-flight review of the Crew Flight Test and incorporation of anticipated learning, approvals of final certification products, and completion of readiness and certification reviews ahead of that mission.
NASA and SpaceX are now targeting Oct. 12 at 10:16 a.m. EDT for a Falcon Heavy launch of the Psyche mission from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center. The change allows the NASA team to complete verifications of the parameters used to control the Psyche spacecraft’s nitrogen cold gas thrusters. These thrusters are used to point the vehicle in support of science, power, thermal and other demands, such as spacecraft orientation and momentum management. The parameters were recently adjusted in response to updated, warmer temperature predictions for these thrusters. Operating the thrusters within temperature limits is essential to ensure the long-term health of the units.
The verification activities involve rerunning simulations and fine-tuning adjustments as required to the flight parameters and procedures.
NASA, SpaceX, and Psyche mission managers met today, Sept. 28, to conduct a Flight Readiness Review (FRR) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. During the FRR, teams provided an update on the mission status, and certified the readiness to initiate final launch preparation activities including a static fire test on Sept. 29.
Psyche has launch opportunities every day between Oct. 12 and Oct. 25.
NASA and SpaceX are standing down from the Friday, Aug. 25, launch opportunity for the agency’s Crew-7 mission to the International Space Station. Launch now is targeted at 3:27 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, for SpaceX’s seventh crew rotation mission to the microgravity laboratory for NASA. More to come.
Digital content creators are invited to register to attend the launch of NASA’s Psyche spacecraft and create content based on the experience. The Psyche mission will journey to a unique metal-rich asteroid orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter.
Psyche is scheduled to lift off at 10:38 a.m. EDT on Thursday, Oct. 5, on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s Launch Services Program is managing the launch.
If your passion is to communicate and engage people online, then this event is for you! Seize the opportunity to see and share the #MissionToPsyche launch. A maximum of 35 social media users will be selected to attend this two-day event (Oct. 4-5, 2023) and will be given access similar to news media.
NASA Social participants will have the opportunity to:
View a launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket
Tour NASA facilities at Kennedy Space Center
Meet and interact with Psyche science and engineering experts
Meet fellow space enthusiasts who are active on social media
NASA Social registration for the Psyche launch opens on Tuesday, Aug. 22, and the deadline to apply is 12 p.m. EDT Monday, Aug. 28. All social applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
The crew that will soon launch to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 mission arrived Sunday at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to start final preparations for liftoff.
Crew members NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, commander; ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, pilot; and mission specialists JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov, landed via Gulfstream jet aircraft at the Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy after departing from Ellington Field near the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The flight crew will be greeted at arrival by leaders from NASA, JAXA, and ESA.
A media event is scheduled about 12:15 p.m. EDT with the following participants:
Bill Nelson, administrator, NASA
Bob Cabana, associate administrator, NASA
Janet Petro, director, NASA Kennedy
Dana Hutcherson, deputy manager, Commercial Crew Program
Eric van der Wal, lead, International Space Station Program Houston Office, ESA
Junichi Sakai, program manager, International Space Station, JAXA
NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, spacecraft commander
Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov, mission specialist
The event is scheduled to broadcast live, if weather permits, on NASA Television and the agency’s website. No teleconference option is available for this event.
Crew members are scheduled to lift off at 3:49 a.m. EDT Friday, Aug. 25, aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft carried by a Falcon 9 rocket for a full duration mission to the space station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP).
This is the seventh crew rotation flight and the eighth human spaceflight mission on SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station for CCP. Details about the mission and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program can be found by following the Crew-7 blog, the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew on X, and commercial crew on Facebook.
NASA’s Psyche spacecraft took another step closer on its upcoming journey to a metal-rich asteroid of the same name. On Aug. 14, a team of technicians and engineers moved the spacecraft from Building 1 to Building 9 at Astrotech Space Operations facility near the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Inside Building 9, technicians will load about one metric ton of xenon gas into seven 22-gallon tanks inside the spacecraft.
Psyche’s solar electric propulsion will use large solar arrays to convert sunlight into electricity, which will power four Hall thrusters. The thrusters will use electric and magnetic fields to accelerate and expel charged xenon particles, or ions, to create thrust and propel the spacecraft to its destination after launch. The thrusters will operate one at a time and will have a blue glow from the xenon.
Psyche is targeted to launch Oct. 5 atop a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy. After launch, Psyche is set to arrive at the asteroid in July 2029, where it will spend 26 months gathering observations that will help scientists learn more about planetary formation.
In addition to its primary mission, Psyche has NASA’s Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) technology demonstration onboard the spacecraft. DSOC will be the agency’s first demonstration of optical communication beyond the Moon. DSOC will send test data to and from Earth using an invisible near-infrared laser, which has much higher bandwidth than radio wave systems currently used on spacecraft.
On Aug. 13, engineers and technicians inside the high bay of the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida successfully completed a series of acoustic tests to ensure the Orion spacecraft for NASA’s Artemis II mission can withstand the speed and vibration it will experience during launch and throughout the 10-day mission around the Moon, the first Artemis mission with astronauts.
During the testing, engineers surrounded the crew module with large stacks of speakers, and attached microphones, accelerometers, and other equipment to measure the effects of different acoustic levels. Engineers and technicians will now analyze the data collected during the tests.
Prior to testing, the four Artemis II astronauts visited the high bay and viewed their ride to the Moon. With this test complete, technicians at Kennedy are on track to integrate Orion’s crew and service modules this fall.
The target launch date for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 mission to the International Space Station now is 3:49 a.m. EDT Friday, Aug. 25. Additional time was required for teams to complete pad readiness after SpaceX’s recent Falcon Heavy mission lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The adjustment also takes advantage of consecutive launch opportunities and deconflicts the station’s cargo spacecraft traffic schedule.
NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket aboard the company’s Dragon spacecraft.
Crew-7 is scheduled to dock to the orbiting laboratory about 2:45 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, to the space-facing port of the station’s Harmony module. If needed, Crew-7 has additional launch opportunities on Saturday, Aug. 26 and Sunday, Aug. 27.
NASA’s Psyche spacecraft has completed another milestone. Solar arrays are now ready to power the spacecraft on a 2.5-billion-mile (4-billion-kilometer) journey to a metal-rich asteroid to help us learn more about planet formation. A team of engineers and technicians received, prepared, and installed the solar arrays on the spacecraft at the Astrotech Space Operations Facility near the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The Artemis II crew – NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman, Victor Glover, Christina Hammock Koch, and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen – visited Naval Base San Diego on July 19 ahead of the first Artemis II recovery test in the Pacific Ocean, Underway Recovery Test-10. The test will build on the success of Artemis I recovery and ensure NASA and the Department of Defense personnel can safely recover astronauts and their Orion spacecraft after their trip around the Moon on the first crewed Artemis mission.
The crew met with recovery team members from NASA’s Exploration Ground Systems Program and the Department of Defense to learn more about the recovery process for their mission, which includes being extracted from the spacecraft after splashing down in the Pacific Ocean and being lifted via helicopter to the recovery ship where they will undergo routine medical checks before returning to shore.
The visit included a walkdown of the ground equipment and facilities the team uses to practice recovery procedures along with a walkthrough of the recovery ship. The crew will participate in full recovery testing at sea next year.