NASA SpaceX Crew-8 Flight Readiness Review Concludes, Teleconference to Follow

Mission managers with NASA, SpaceX, and international partners gather on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024, at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to complete a Flight Readiness Review for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.
Mission managers with NASA, SpaceX, and international partners gather on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024, at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to complete a Flight Readiness Review for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

The Flight Readiness Review (FRR) for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission to the International Space Station has concluded, and teams are proceeding toward a planned liftoff at 12:04 a.m. EST on Friday, March 1, from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NASA will hold a media teleconference at 7:30 p.m. EST to discuss the outcome of the review. Listen live on NASA’s website.

Participants in the teleconference are:

  • Ken Bowersox, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Steve Stich, manager, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, Kennedy
  • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station Program, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
  • Emily Nelson, chief flight director, NASA’s Johnson Space Center
  • William Gerstenmaier, vice president, Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX
  • Eric van der Wal, Houston office team leader, ESA (European Space Agency)
  • Takayoshi Nishikawa, director, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Houston Office

Later tonight, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft, named Endeavour, will roll out to the pad at Launch Complex 39A. On Tuesday, Feb. 27, the crew will participate in a rehearsal of launch day activities ahead of an integrated static fire test in preparation for liftoff.

NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick, commander; Michael Barratt, pilot; Jeanette Epps, mission specialist; along with Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin, mission specialist, will fly to the International Space Station aboard the Dragon spacecraft. As part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, Crew-8 marks the ninth human spaceflight mission on SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft and the eighth crew rotation mission to the space station since 2020.

Details about the mission and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program can be found by following the Crew-8 blog, the commercial crew blogX, and Facebook.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 Astronauts Touch Down at Florida Spaceport

Crew members of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission to the International Space Station stand before members of the news media at the Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024.
Crew members of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission to the International Space Station from right to left, NASA astronauts Jeanette Epps, Matthew Dominick, and Michael Barratt, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin, stand before members of the news media at the Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024. The Crew-8 mission is slated to launch aboard SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, powered by the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A no earlier than 12:04 a.m. EST on Friday, March 1, 2024. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

After departing via Gulfstream jet aircraft from Ellington Field near NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick, Michael Barratt, and Jeanette Epps, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin just landed at the Launch and Landing Facility at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The crew will begin final preparations for liftoff to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission.

Crew-8 astronauts will be greeted shortly by NASA leaders for a brief welcome ceremony and media event, scheduled for about 2 p.m. EST with the following participants:

  • Jennifer Kunz, associate director, NASA Kennedy
  • Dana Hutcherson, deputy program manager, Commercial Crew Program
  • NASA astronaut Matthew Dominick
  • NASA astronaut Michael Barratt
  • NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps
  • Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin

The event is scheduled to be streamed live on Kennedy’s YouTube, X, and Facebook accounts.

Crew-8 astronauts are scheduled to launch to the space station at 12:04 a.m. EST on Friday, March 1, aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft atop a Falcon 9 rocket as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP). The crew will spend several months living and working aboard the orbiting laboratory before returning to Earth in the fall of 2024.

This is the eighth crew rotation flight and the ninth 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-8 blog, the commercial crew blogX, and Facebook.

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 Astronauts Depart Houston for Florida

Members of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 from right to left, NASA astronauts Jeanette Epps, mission specialist; Matthew Dominick, commander; Michael Barratt, pilot; and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin, mission specialist; will launch to the International Space Station no earlier than 12:04 a.m. EST Friday, March 1, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: SpaceX

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 crew members are en route to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to begin final launch preparations.

Crew-8 crewmates NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick, commander; Michael Barratt, pilot; Jeanette Epps, mission specialist; along with Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin, mission specialist, departed by plane from Ellington Field near the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, for the short flight to the Florida spaceport. The crew is expected to arrive at Kennedy’s Launch and Landing Facility this afternoon.

Crew-8 astronauts will be greeted upon their arrival by leaders from NASA for a brief welcome ceremony targeted for approximately 2 p.m. EST. The event is scheduled to stream live, if weather permits, on Kennedy’s YouTube, X, and Facebook accounts.

Meanwhile, NASA, SpaceX, and international partner representatives have gathered at Kennedy to participate in the agency’s Flight Readiness Review, which focuses on the preparedness of SpaceX’s crew transportation system, the space station, and its international partners to support the launch of Crew-8 and return of Crew-7. A teleconference is planned for later today, approximately one hour after the conclusion of the review. Be sure to follow along on our blog; additional details will be provided as the day progresses.

SpaceX Crew-8 is targeted to launch at 12:04 a.m. EST on Friday, March 1, to the International Space Station.

NASA, SpaceX Target Late February for Crew-8 Launch to Station

Official SpaceX Crew-8 portrait with Roscosmos cosmonaut and Mission Specialist Aleksandr Grebenkin, and Pilot Michael Barratt, Commander Matthew Dominick, and Mission Specialist Jeanette Epps, all three NASA astronauts. Photo credit: NASA/Bill Stafford

NASA and SpaceX are targeting no earlier than 12:49 a.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 28, for the launch of the agency’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission to the International Space Station. The launch of Crew-8 was adjusted to deconflict operations with Intuitive Machines’ IM-1, the company’s first lunar lander mission to the Moon as part NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative, currently targeted for Wednesday, Feb. 14. NASA and SpaceX will continue to assess Crew-8 readiness and may adjust the Crew-8 launch date following a successful IM-1 launch.

“The Commercial Crew Program has been following along with the IM-1 mission preparations, and we are wishing the Intuitive Machines and SpaceX teams all the best ahead of this extremely complex mission to the lunar surface,” said Steve Stich, program manager for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick, Michael Barratt, and Jeanette Epps, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin will lift off aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to perform research, technology demonstrations, and maintenance activities aboard the space station. Crew-8 is the eighth crew rotation mission with SpaceX to station, and the ninth human spaceflight as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Details about the mission and NASA’s Commercial Crew Program can be found by following the Crew-8 blog, the commercial crew blogX, and Facebook.

Signal Acquired: NASA’s PACE Spacecraft Begins Its Science Mission

NASA’s PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) spacecraft has successfully made contact with ground stations back on Earth providing teams with early readings of its overall status, health, operation, and capabilities postlaunch.  

A full postlaunch assessment review to determine PACE’s readiness to move into the operational phase of its mission will be conducted in the coming weeks.  

Information collected throughout PACE’s mission will benefit society in the areas of ocean health, harmful algal bloom monitoring, ecological forecasting, and air quality. PACE also will contribute new global measurements of ocean color, cloud properties, and aerosols, which will be essential to understanding the global carbon cycle and ocean ecosystem responses to a changing climate.  

The PACE’s mission is designed to last at least three years, though the spacecraft is loaded with enough propellant to expand that timeline more than three times as long. 

To read more about the launch of the PACE mission, please visit: 

https://www.nasa.gov/news-release/nasa-launches-new-climate-mission-to-study-ocean-atmosphere/

NASA’s PACE Spacecraft Separation

Photo credit: NASA Television

NASA’s PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) spacecraft has separated from the Falcon 9 rocket’s second stage, beginning its science mission from sun-synchronous orbit about 420 miles above the Earth’s surface. 

The Falcon 9 Sticks Its Landing

Photo credit: NASA Television

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage has successfully landed at Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Tonight’s mission marks the fourth completed flight for this Falcon 9.  

Coming Up: Falcon 9 Max Q, Main Engine Cutoff, and Stage Separation

Photo credit: NASA Television

A series of rapid events occurs after launch. After Max Q – the moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket – the nine Merlin engines of the Falcon 9’s first stage will finish their burn and cut off during a phase called MECO or Main Engine Cutoff. 

Quickly after MECO, the stage separation sequence occurs. The second stage carrying NASA’s PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) spacecraft will continue on its journey to sun-synchronous orbit.  

Coming up next, the Falcon 9’s second stage engine ignites, and the protective payload fairings will be jettisoned to reveal NASA’s PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) spacecraft to the vacuum of space for the first time.   

Meanwhile, the first stage of the rocket begins its recovery journey for a vertical landing at SpaceX Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Landing should occur about eight and a half minutes after liftoff. 

Stay right here on the blog for more live mission coverage.  

Liftoff! NASA’s Earth Science Mission Launches Into Space Coast Sky

Photo credit: NASA Television

3, 2, 1 … LIFTOFF! A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying NASA’s PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) spacecraft launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 1:33 a.m. EST Thursday, Feb. 8 

The next milestone is Max Q or maximum dynamic pressure – the moment of peak mechanical stress on the rocket.  

Continue following live coverage of launch milestones here on the blog, or watch live coverage on the NASA+ streaming service, NASA Television, the NASA app, YouTube, and the agency’s website. Learn how to stream NASA TV through a variety of platforms, including social media. 

PACE is ‘Go’ for Launch From Florida

Photo credit: NASA Television

NASA’s senior launch manager, Tim Dunn, has just given NASA’s PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) mission the “go” for launch!  

In the next few moments, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket’s nine Merlin engines will roar to life at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40, sending the PACE spacecraft on the start of its journey to a sun-synchronous orbit to study the Earth’s atmosphere and ocean surface from space. 

Liftoff remains on track for 1:33 a.m. EST.