Astronaut Satoshi Furukawa from JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) has been selected as a mission specialist for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 mission – the agency’s seventh rotational mission to the International Space Station.
Furukawa joins NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, who will serve as spacecraft commander and pilot, respectively. An additional crew member will be assigned at a later date.
Furukawa spent 165 days aboard the orbiting laboratory in 2011 as a flight engineer with Expeditions 28 and 29. As part of his duties, he helped support the final space shuttle mission, STS-135.
This will be the first spaceflight for Moghbeli, who became a NASA astronaut in 2017, and the first long-duration mission for Mogensen. He previously served as a flight engineer on a 10-day mission to the space station in 2015. Crew-7 will be his second trip to space.
NASA and SpaceX are targeting no earlier than mid-August for the launch of Crew-7, aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The four astronauts will join an expedition crew aboard the space station.
NASA and its mission partners are gearing up for a busy 2023 with crew launches and returns from the International Space Station. NASA worked closely with its international partners and commercial crew providers, Boeing and SpaceX, to secure new target launch dates for the upcoming flights that are optimal for space station needs.
Starliner Flight Date Targets
NASA and Boeing now are targeting April 2023 for the agency’s Crew Flight Test (CFT), the first flight with astronauts on the company’s CST-100 Starliner. The date adjustment deconflicts visiting spacecraft traffic at the space station as NASA and Boeing work together to achieve flight readiness.
The team continues to make progress toward Starliner’s crewed flight following the successful uncrewed Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) to the space station in May. Starliner and United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket hardware remain on track for readiness in early 2023. The joint team continues to close out the OFT-2 anomalies and partner closely together to identify forward work and ensure all requirements for crewed flight are met. NASA and Boeing currently are working on a variety of verification efforts across several critical systems that will be used for Starliner’s crew flight certification.
For CFT, Boeing recently completed the exterior of the Starliner crew module with the installation of the forward heat shield and entry cover. The previously flown crew module, named Calypso, will be connected to a new service module later this year. Formal qualification testing on the CFT version of Starliner’s flight software was completed last month. NASA astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Suni Williams, CFT’s commander and pilot, respectively, and Mike Fincke, backup spacecraft test pilot, along with the Boeing team, also successfully completed the crew validation test during which the astronauts suited up and tested out the pressurized crew module to ensure seat fit, suit functionality, cabin temperature, audio system and day of launch operations.
The CFT astronauts will live and work on the space station for about two weeks. Following a successful crewed flight, NASA will work to complete certification of the Starliner spacecraft and systems for regular crew rotation missions to the space station. A launch date for NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1 mission will be determined following a successful flight test with astronauts and close out of the agency’s certification work.
SpaceX Flight Date Targets
NASA and SpaceX are targeting mid-February 2023, for launch of the agency’s Crew-6 mission to the International Space Station.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch Dragon and NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, United Arab Emirates astronaut Sultan AlNeyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrei Fedyaev to the space station from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The crew will spend approximately six months on the space station, starting with a short handover with Crew-5, which arrived at the station in October for a science expedition at the microgravity laboratory.
SpaceX certification and Falcon 9 hardware remain on track for the sixth crew rotation mission of the company’s human space transportation system and its seventh flight with NASA astronauts, including the Demo-2 test flight, to the space station.
The Crew-6 mission will be Dragon Endeavour’s fourth flight to the space station, which previously supported the Demo-2, Crew-2, and Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) missions, making the spacecraft the fleet leader in number of flights to and from the station. The Dragon spacecraft currently is undergoing refurbishment at SpaceX’s Dragonland facility at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
NASA and SpaceX also are targeting fall 2023 for launch of the agency’s Crew-7 mission to the International Space Station, ahead of the return of Crew-6.
Find out more about NASA’s Commercial Crew Program at:
NASA television coverage for today’s scheduled launch of the sixth SpaceX commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station has begun and can be seen at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.
Countdown is progressing smoothly toward a scheduled lift off at 4:10:41 p.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The weather forecast remains at 60% “go” with concerns for anvil and cumulous clouds.
The Falcon 9 rocket will launch a Dragon spacecraft carrying about two tons of supplies and materials to support about 40 of more than 250 science and research investigations that will occur during the station’s Expeditions 43 and 44.
For a mission overview, press kit, launch countdown coverage, NASA’s launch blog, and more information about the mission, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/spacex
To join the online conversation about the SpaceX CRS-6 launch, the International Space Station and Expedition 43 on Twitter, follow @Space_Station and the hashtag #ISScargo.
NASA and SpaceX announced today the launch of SpaceX’s fifth commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station now will occur no earlier than Tuesday, Jan. 6. This will provide SpaceX engineers time to investigate further some of the issues that arose from the static fire test of the Falcon 9 rocket on Dec. 16 and will avoid beta angle constraints for berthing the Dragon cargo ship to the station that exist through the end of the year.
Beta angles are the angles between the space station orbital plane and the sun, resulting in the station being in almost constant sunlight for a 10 day period. During this time, there are thermal and operational constraints that prohibit Dragon from berthing to the station. This high beta period runs from Dec. 28 through Jan. 7.
The new launch date also will allow the teams to enjoy the holidays.
Space station managers will meet on Monday, Jan. 5, for a thorough readiness review in advance of the Jan. 6 launch attempt. The launch postponement has no impact on the station’s crew, its complement of food, fuel and supplies and will not impact the science being delivered to the crew once Dragon arrives at the station.
A launch on Tuesday, Jan. 6, is scheduled at approximately 6:18 a.m. EST. NASA TV coverage will begin at 5 a.m.
A backup launch attempt is available on Wednesday, Jan. 7.
A launch on Jan. 6 will result in a rendezvous and grapple of Dragon on Thursday, Jan. 8, at approximately 6 a.m. NASA TV coverage will begin at 4:30 a.m. Installation coverage will begin at 9 a.m.
Prelaunch briefings at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center will be rescheduled for Monday, Jan. 5 with the times to be determined.
For an updated schedule of prelaunch briefings, events and NASA TV coverage, visit:
The six-member Expedition 42 crew aboard its orbital home and laboratory is conducting international science and advanced maintenance. Back on the ground, NASA is preparing for the launch of its new Orion spacecraft from Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on its first test flight, the Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1) mission. The International Space Station is providing valuable experience and research that will help further future exploration missions on Orion.
The week-long servicing of the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly continued Wednesday as astronauts Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts replaced filters and checked for leaks. The device removes humidity and carbon dioxide from the station’s environment.
Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti was in Europe’s Columbus lab module cleaning the BioLab. The facility allows the observation of micro-organisms, plants and invertebrates and their adaptation to microgravity. The cosmonauts in the station’s Russian segment gathered in Japan’s Kibo lab module to record a televised event in between their regularly scheduled duties.
At KSC, Orion will launch atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket Thursday at 7:05 a.m. EST for a two-orbit test mission taking it 3,600 miles above Earth’s surface. EFT-1 will last less than 4-1/2 hours and will end when Orion splashes down in the Pacific Ocean for recovery by NASA personnel.